Russian sanctions retaliation bruises Polish apple farmers

jueves 7 de agosto de 2014 09:13 GYT

* Russia originally blamed food standards from Polish apple ban

* Moscow now declares broader ban is retaliatory measure

* Halt to Polish farm exports hurts farmers, economy less so

* Some Poles lament vocal criticism of the Kremlin

By Wiktor Szary

NOWE GROBICE, Poland, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Slawomir Kedzierski's workers had just finished loading 20 tonnes of Polish apples onto two trucks destined for Russia when news came through of the embargo. The fruit, and his business, had fallen foul of the geopolitical crisis over Ukraine.

"The man who had placed the order rang up and told me not to bother, because the apples wouldn't make it through customs on time," said Kedzierski, whose Sun-Sad company is one of 800 Polish apple producers exporting to Russia.

Two days later, on Aug. 1, Russia officially closed its borders to Polish fruit and vegetables, depriving farmers and exporters of a market worth more than 300 million euros ($400 million) last year.

Moscow blamed repeated sanitary infringements by Polish farmers, but the move was widely seen at the time as retaliation for Poland's staunch support of Ukraine in its fight with pro-Russian separatists and Warsaw's push within the European Union for tougher sanctions on Russia.   Continuación...