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Europe

Russia bans Ukrainian beer imports over 'calorie counts'

© AFP-Sergei SUPINSKY

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-08-14

Russia on Wednesday banned all imports of Ukrainian alcohol products over alleged inaccuracies in the nutrition information on their labels, saying their calorie counts and alcohol content did not add up.

Russia's Rospotrebnadzor consumer protection agency said that several brands of Ukrainian beer, wine and spirits "failed to meet requirements identified on their labels".

Samples of Obolon beer showed an innaccurate calorie count while spirits sold by the Ukrainian Distribution Company had misrepresented their alcohol content, the federal agency said.

Data from the Federal Customs Service show that Russia imported Ukrainian alcohol products worth $90.3 million (€67.5 million) in 2013.

Rospotrebnadzor said the ban would come into force on Friday.

The move comes just days after Moscow banned most meat and produce imports from the United States and EU nations, in apparent response to tough new Western sanctions on Russia over its alleged support for pro-Kremlin rebels in east Ukraine.

Political pressure

Russia also cited alleged violations of consumer safety regulations in introducing earlier bans on all Ukrainian dairy and chocolate products – including several produced by firms owned by chocolate tycoon Petro Poroshenko, who is now Ukraine's president.

Moscow has previously cited safety concerns when banning food products from nations with which it is having diplomatic differences.

Russia said earlier this month that it would begin banning imports of most fruit and vegetables from Poland for what it said were violations of health regulations and documentation procedures. Polish officials, however, said the ban was in retaliation for its vocal support for EU sanctions against Russia.

Russia banned sales of Georgian wine shortly before fighting a brief 2008 war against Tbilisi after two Moscow-backed regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, declared independence from Georgia.

The Kremlin also imposed new restrictions on Moldovan wine and Belarusian dairy products when the two ex-Soviet countries began resisting various Kremlin policies.

Both Georgia and Moldova signed historic EU free-trade agreements this year that will diminish their dependence on Russia and bring them closer to the West.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-08-14

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