Outrage as Russia destroys tonnes of Western food

Hundreds of tonnes of food from Western nations have been destroyed in Russia as part of campaign ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

The destruction has caused an outcry from anti-poverty campaigners who say the food should have been given to the poor

A petition against the action on change.org has already attracted more than 300,000 signatures.

Moscow banned many Western food imports last year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and others during the confrontation over Ukraine.

The change.org petition states: “Sanctions have led to a major growth in food prices on Russian shelves. Russian pensioners, veterans, large families, the disabled and other needy social groups were forced to greatly restrict their diets, right up to starvation.”

“If you can just eat these products, why destroy it?”

Russia’s food safety watchdog said officials seized 436 tonnes of various food products on August 6 and destroyed more than 320 tonnes.

A huge pile of Western-produced cheese was destroyed in front of television camera.

One priest from the Russian Orthodox Church, which enjoys close ties with the Kremlin, expressed his anger.

“My grandmother always told me that throwing away food is a sin,” the cleric, Alexey Uminsky, said.

He was quoted by the website ‘Orthodoxy and the World’ as saying: “This idea is insane, stupid and vile.”

“Such an idea can only appear with a man who has been in no need for anything in recent decades and is ready to do something like that for populism and quasi-patriotism,” he added.

Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week the situation should be not blown out of proportion.

“The primary goal is to stop the contraband . . . Second, to protect economic interests of the country hurt by the contraband. Third, and in fact the most important thing, is safeguarding the health of citizens,” he told reporters.

While Peskov said the Kremlin was keeping an eye on the change.org petition, he said banned food was arriving without necessary certificates and could therefore pose health risks.


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