Food sanctions issued by President Putin against the European Union are widely circumvented by Dutch and Belgian fruit companies. Through a smuggling trade, their produce still reaches Russian supermarkets. Since the sanctions were issued, Dutch and Belgians have made an estimated 240 million euros from the smuggling of pears alone. That is what de Volkskrant uncovered during talks with Dutch and Belgian pear farmers, fruit traders and Russian importers. On August 7, 2014, Russia banned the import of meat, fish, dairy, vegetables and fruits from the EU. Putin imposed the ban to retaliate for the punitive measures imposed by Brussels after Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea and its military involvement in Eastern Ukraine, where on July 17th of 2014, passenger flight MH17 was taken down.

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