EU country importing cheap Russian veggies despite sanctions – media
Poland continues to import Russian vegetables despite wide-ranging EU sanctions against Moscow, Berliner Zeitung reported this week.
According to the newspaper, dozens of trucks are constantly arriving at the wholesale market in the Polish town of Bronisze on the outskirts of Warsaw, loaded with Russian cucumbers and tomatoes. The cucumbers are priced at 55 zloty ($12.48) for 5 kilos, which is well below the cost of EU-produced vegetables, the outlet noted.
Vegetables have become increasingly expensive in recent months, with local farmers struggling to meet higher energy costs to power their greenhouses. Official statistics show annual inflation in Poland accelerated in February to 18.4%, the highest since 1996 and one of the highest levels in the EU, with food prices and energy costs rising at the fastest pace. Recent media reports citing police data claim that Poland has registered a 31% growth in shoplifting crimes at food stores since the price spikes.
In principle, Russian food imports are not banned by EU sanctions. According to the European Council, products primarily intended for human consumption are exempt from export and import restrictions. However, many countries have halted their business from Russia and stopped trading with Russian exporters throughout the past year. Also, some of the restrictions have made financial transactions with Russian entities and the transportation of goods from Russia difficult.
However, according to the German outlet, Polish importers are willing to make an effort to obtain cheap Russian products.
Poland is not the only European country currently struggling to keep food shelves in supermarkets filled. British grocery stores have recently started to ration vegetables due to shortages, which prompted Food and Environment Secretary Therese Coffey to suggest that shoppers opt for seasonal, home-grown vegetables like turnips instead of pining for imported tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently suggested that European countries should turn to Russia to tackle food shortages.
“Turnips are a good product, but you will probably have to turn to [Russia] for turnips too, because our crop level still significantly exceeds those of our neighbors in Europe,” he said.
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