Russia flattens 10 tonnes of cheese in crackdown on imported Western food

Putin ignored a petition from 280,000 people to give the food to the poor

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The Independent Online

Ten tonnes of cheese has been flattened in Russia as Putin orders the "destruction" of all imported Western food.

President Putin made a decree on 29 July which came into effect on 6 August that all illegally imported food from Europe and other sanctioning countries must be gotten rid of.

Instead of sending the food back, Putin announced that it would be destroyed by any means, including being incinerated on site.

One of the first batches of food to be eliminated was 10 tonnes of cheese in Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine.

Government trucks drove the cheese to a landfill, flattened it and pushed it in.

In other examples, 114 tonnes of pork was burned and three trucks full of nectarines were squished using a tractor.

The import ban was introduced in Russia in August last year amid Western sanctions imposed since 2014 over the country's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

The ban applies to beef, pork, fish, dairy products and other food from the EU, US, Australia and Canada.

Both the sanctions and the imports ban were extended for another year in June.

"Agricultural goods, raw materials and food originating from a country that has made the decision to introduce economic sanctions against Russian entities and/or individuals... are subject to destruction," the president's decree read.

A petition on Change.org, signed by over 280,000 people, asking for Putin to reconsider destroying the food and instead give it to the needy has been dismissed.

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