Russia bans canned fish from Baltic region

In a move that Latvian officials speculate could be another attempt from Moscow to enact political pressure on the Baltic region, Russia has decided to ban canned fish from Latvia and Bosnia for the time being.

Authorities for Russian veterinary services cited high levels of benzopyrene as the reason behind the ban that was put into effect 4 June. However, Latvian Agricultural Minister Janis Duklavs wasn’t convinced that health reasons were the sole perpetrator of the temporary blockade of imports from his Baltic state, which sees fish producers export nearly half of their catch to Russia.

"Perhaps I will not link the matter with Latvia's presidency of the Council of the EU, but I will remind you that Lithuanian milk producers had a similar problem when their country held the presidency [back in 2013]," Duklavs said in a statement.

Back in 2013, Russia blocked imports of dairy products from Lithuania mere weeks before it was to host a summit where one of the key discussion topics focused on how former Soviet republic states could distance themselves from Moscow.

Grand disputes between Russian and the Baltic states have been ongoing, especially when it comes to the quality of canned fish. Russia has recently upped its laboratory inspections of canned fished products and taken to imposing import bans on individual companies as a result.

Tensions betwixt Russia and the three Baltics countries reached a fever pitch after Moscow seized the Crimean Peninsula last year, and following the crisis in eastern Ukraine.


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