Russia’s ban on EU vegetables

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seen at his meeting with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj in Moscow, Tuesday, May 31, 2011. — PHOTO: AP

MOSCOW – PRIME Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday said he would check the validity of Russia’s ban on EU vegetables but warned he would not allow Russians to ‘get poisoned’ for the sake of its WTO membership bid.

‘I will check the validity of the decision of the sanitary doctors,’ Mr Putin said after Russia’s consumer protection watchdog outraged the EU by banning vegetable imports in the wake of the lethal bacteria outbreak in Germany.

He said that Russia was awaiting further information from the European Commission, in particular about the source of the infection.

Mr Putin lamented that EU officials had said that Russia’s ban was against the spirit of its bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

‘I do not know what spirit this contradicts,’ Mr Putin said in comments broadcast by state television. ‘Cucumbers that make people die really smell bad.’ ‘People really are dying because of eating these products and we cannot let our people (Russians) get poisoned for the sake of some kind of spirit,’ he added. — AFP

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