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Russia bans importation of flowers from the Netherlands

By Jared M. Feldschreiber
Russia bans importation of flowers from the Netherlands
Field with blue hyacinths near Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands. Russia banned the importation of cut Dutch flowers Monday, saying that some were found to be infected with a banned organism. Photo by WikiCommons

MOSCOW, July 27 (UPI) -- Russia has banned the importation of cut flowers from the Netherlands. Rosselkhoznadzor, the Krelmin's agriculture watchdog, made the announcement on Monday, saying that some Dutch flowers were infected with a banned organism.

The watchdog's statement recommended that European Union hygiene organizations suspend the certification of Dutch cut flowers headed to Russia, as reported by Russia Today (RT).

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"Each shipment has a certificate from these countries, which guarantees the products fully meet the health and legal requirements of Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union," part of Monday's statement read, as reported by TASS and RT.

The ban could cost the Netherlands tens of millions of dollars, Radio Free Europe reported.

Last week, Russian customs officials said they foiled an attempt by a man to smuggle half ton of cheese into the country from the European Union. It was viewed as an attempt to skirt retaliatory sanctions.

In June, Russia threatened to expand its embargo of EU products, which included flowers and chocolate, RT also reported.

Relations between Moscow and the Netherlands have soured since the July 2014 downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. 193 of the 298 people killed were Dutch citizens, and the West has contended that the plane was shot down by Russia-backed separatists using a surface-to-air missile provided by Moscow.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin told Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a phone call on July 17 that establishing an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the crash would be "premature" and "counterproductive."

The Dutch Safety Board is expected to release its final report in October.

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