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Russian sanitary watchdog detains at border only 20% of sanctioned products

August 07, 2015, 8:32 UTC+3

The problem is that there is no customs control on the administrative borders with Kazakhstan and Belarus, the watchdog’s press secretary explains

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© ITAR-TASS Archive/Mikhail Metsel

MOSCOW, August 7. /TASS/. As many as 283 attempts to smuggle into Russia food products the import of which is banned have been made across the Russian border with Kazakhstan and Belarus since the beginning of the year. However, according to an analysis of Russia’s veterinary and sanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, it is only 20% of the total volume of prohibited products from these countries crossing the Russian border, the Izvestia daily writes on Friday, referring to the Rosselkhoznadzor press service.

"The thing is that there is no customs control on the administrative borders with these states — checks are made only by the Rosselkhoznadzor posts, but there are not too many of them — 6 on the border with Belarus and 35 — on the border with Kazakhstan," the newspaper writes. "The flow of the sanctioned products from these states is huge ... posts exist not on all roads, and the transporters often find bypass roads to bring their products to Russia without Rosselkhoznadzor’s control," the newspaper quotes the watchdog’s press secretary Alexey Alexeyenko.

Therefore, Rosselkhoznadzor plans to increase in the near future the number of the inspection posts, but before this, the spokesperson said, the agency will conduct a survey of trade flows from Kazakhstan and Belarus.

"First of all, our task is to block the way to large vehicles with contraband products, however, we also try to watch small batches. We will closely monitor the situation in these regions," Alexeyenko said. "We are aware of the problem of finding bypass routes by the smugglers and we are trying to settle it. Together with the security agencies we will monitor the areas from which cargoes may be brought."

The spokesman also said that Rosselkhoznadzor, despite the difficulties, is working with the same number of personnel the number of which has not been increased and this is not expected. The agency hopes to detain in the future more than 50% of Western food products coming from Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Russian government has issued an instruction to destroy the imported produce falling under Russia’s counter-sanctions on the West. Appropriate orders have been given to the Federal Customs Service, Rosselkhoznadzor and the consumer rights watchdog agency, Rospotrebnadzor.

Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachyov voiced the initiative on destruction of the outlawed product, mostly foodstuffs, earlier this week at a regular meeting of the cabinet of ministers. President Vladimir Putin supported his proposal.

Destruction of the identified consignments of contraband began in a number of Russian regions on Thursday. The first consignment consisting of 10 tonnes of cheese imported from Ukraine was destroyed in the south-western Belgorod region.

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