Putin orders destruction of smuggled Western food
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree ordering the destruction of Western food smuggled into the country in breach of an official embargo.
Moscow last year banned a slew of food products from the West in retaliation for biting economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
The decree says that banned food products that are smuggled into the country must be destroyed from August 6 this year.
The embargo has seen truckloads of delicacies, from cheese to pate, stopped at the border, with allegations swirling that products are being re-labelled in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries and imported illegally.
Up until now, any smuggled produce being caught has been turned around and sent back.
The decree did not make it clear whether the food would be destroyed immediately at the border. It calls for the government to decide on a procedure for destruction.
At a meeting with Putin last week, agriculture minister Alexander Tkachev called for produce to be destroyed by customs officers.
The decree still allows people to bring in banned foods for personal consumption.
Yevgeny Bobrov, a member of the Kremlin rights council, an advisory body, last week called the proposal to destroy food "high-handedness," saying smuggled food should be given to the less well-off.
© 2015 AFP