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Russia ban on Latvia exports not ’politically motivated’

Aug 01, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

Russia ban on Latvia exports not ’politically motivated’
Russia has banned Latvian sprats from crossing its borders, citing quality concerns (pic:: twitter)

Russia's ban on Latvian powdered milk and fish exports is not politically motivated, a foreign ministry spokesperson has said.

Diana Eglite of the Latvian foreign ministry told the LETA news agency it was closely following the situation after Russia turned away large quantities of exports on Thursday, citing quality concerns.

Latvian Economy Minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis previously said Russia's response to recent EU sanctions in Latvia could affect its food and transit industries.

It's not the first time Russia has banned Baltic food exports from crossing its borders, the minister said, adding.

''Then we will have much time to debate whether these are or are not sanctions against us,'' Dombrovskis said.

Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor on Thursday banned a 20-ton shipment of powdered milk on the Latvia-Russia border.

'Microbiological deficiencies' were also discovered in a shipment of canned sprats from Latvia. A 15.5 ton shipment of sprats have been taken to a temporary storage facility in Pskov.

Meanwhile, a 55.5 ton rail shipment of fish products from Latvia and Iceland was barred from entering Russia from Latvia also.

Latvian products are not the only ones being turned away at the Russia border. A shipment of grain from Belgium was halted on the Estonia- Russia border whilst Polish vegetables and fruit have all been turned away.

The European Union formally adopted broad economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday, aiming to make it pay a price over the Ukraine crisis in the hope Moscow would reverse course.

The new measures agreed earlier this week target Russia's banking, defense and energy sectors in view of its "actions destabilizing the situation in eastern Ukraine," an EU statement said.

(Edited by Rayyan Sabet-Parry)

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