A week after Russia publicly burned hundreds of tons of Western imported foods, the Kremlin is now adding European imported flowers to the flames.
The flower bonfire will hit Russians already struggling with unemployment and inflation, as flower prices are expected to skyrocket in the next few weeks and demand soars as children returning to school traditionally give flowers to their teachers.
“These are freshly cut flowers from the Netherlands infected with wester Californian flower thrips,” Yekaterina Slakova, Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor’s chief sanitary inspector, explained as television showed workers burning boxes filled with roses, Reuters reported.
According to the watchdog, more than 50 percent of the diseased imported flowers — 310 cases out of 606 — were of Dutch origin.
“The Russians are searching for any reason not to let our flowers in. We know this is politically motivated,” a spokesperson for a Dutch flower firm who asked not to be named told Reuters.
Moscow’s ban is the latest blow to an already-feeble relationship with the Netherlands, which collapsed after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The majority of the 298 people killed in the crash were Dutch citizens.
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