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Russia bans Polish fruit, vegetables in sanctions response

Russia is Poland's largest importer of apples.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Aug. 1, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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An apple orchard in Poland (CC/ Glysiak)
WARSAW , Poland, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Russia announced a ban on fruit and vegetable imports from Poland Friday, after Poland condemned Russian actions in Ukraine.

The move denies Poland access to its largest export market for apples, and will deprive it of about $1.3 billion in annual sales. Polish Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski said the amount is about 0.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product for 2014.

Russian food authorities claimed the imports have excessive pesticide and nitrate levels.

Russia banned imports of various Ukrainian foods Thursday, as well as certain canned goods last week. In 2013, it banned chocolate products of the Roshen Confectionary Corp., the company owned by businessman Petro Poroshenko, who has since become Ukraine's president.

The pro-Western policies of two former Soviet Union republics, Georgia and Moldava, have resulted in similar bans on their food products.

Poland has been critical of Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement with separatist rebels in Ukraine, and its agriculture commodities amount to 3.8 percent of its total gross domestic product. It will likely seek compensation from the European Union for its loss of earnings.

Polish citizens have been posting images of apples on social media to protest the situation.

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