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Poland

Poland eats apples to get back at Putin, Russia

Poles are encouraging countrymen to eat apples as part of a social media push to protest Russia's ban on Polish produce. Poland says the law is punishment for it supporting the latest round of EU sanctions.

Poles launched the #jedzjablka (#eatapples) Twitter campaign on Thursday, a day after Russia banned most imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland.

Moscow says the produce embargo was put in place because of health regulation violations and procedures of some Polish police. But government officials in Poland say the ban is retaliation for supporting the latest round of European Union sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

The embargo, set to begin August 1, is mainly expected to impact Polish apples. Poland is Europe's largest producer of apples, and more than half of its production goes to Russia.

On Wednesday, Poland's Puls Biznesu newspaper called on citizens to show their support for apple producers by eating more apples and drinking cider.

Politicians, celebrities, journalists and other members of the Polish Twitterverse joined the campaign against Russia and President Vladimir Putin by tweeting photos of themselves taking a bite out of an apple or drinking cider.

"#jedzjablka to spite Putin. Join the campaign to demonstrate what we're doing with the Russian embargo," Stanislaw Koziej, the national security advisor to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, tweeted on Thursday.

Poland is the latest of several countries Russia has targeted with bans. Moscow on Thursday announced it would ban the import of soy products, cornmeal and sunflowers from Ukraine. That embargo is in addition to the already-existing ban on Ukrainian dairy products and canned food.

Earlier this Month, Russia banned Moldovan fruit after the country signed an association agreement with the EU.

dr/rc (AP, AFP)

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