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Agriculture Minister calls on Russia to halt food burning

PR dla Zagranicy
Jo Harper 07.08.2015 14:55
Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt the destruction of Polish food imports confiscated at the Russian border.
Marek Sawicki. Photo: Polskie RadioMarek Sawicki. Photo: Polskie Radio

"I want to appeal to President Putin lest he walk in the footsteps of his predecessors from the Soviet Union, especially from the 1930s, and not destroy food. Russians today need this food and in our Slavic tradition the destruction of the bread is considered a very grave sin," the minister said at a Friday press conference. Speaking about 'predecessors', Sawicki was referring to the 1930s hunger in Ukraine which was deliberately caused on Stalin's orders and involved destruction of grain hidden by farmers from the authorities.

On Thursday Russia started to dispose of consficated food as part of a campaign to discourage illegal smuggling over food into Russia.

On the first anniversary of the embargo on food imports from the West to Russia, President Putin’s campaign to destroy hundreds of tonnes of smuggled food started with consignments from Poland.

Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev told television channel Rossiya 24 that 28 tons of apples and tomatoes from Poland had been burnt.

Despite the embargo border guards often stop large amounts of meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables and other products whose importation is prohibited.

In Smolensk 55 tons of nectarines, peaches and tomatoes, imported to Russia using forged documents were destroyed and in Belgorod nine tons of cheese of unknown origin were destroyed.

Moscow banned Western food imports last year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the US and EU during the confrontation over Ukraine.

Putin’s decree ordering the food to be destroyed entered into force on Thursday. The ban, currently in place until August 5, 2016, covers a wide range of imports including pork, beef, poultry, fish and seafood, milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables and nuts. (jh/rk)

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