Russia bans wine imports from Montenegro

Russia has reportedly banned wine imports from Montenegro’s biggest producer, the state-owned Plantaze,  over claims of “sanitary failing”, leading the producer to denounce the ban as retaliation for its plans to join NATO.

Kotor Bay in Montenegro

In a statement released on Monday Plantaze said it had received notice from Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor that its products had been banned from the Russian market amid “sanitary failings” – accusations that the company has denied.

Rospotrebnadzor claimed that it had discovered elevated levels of the pesticide metalaxyl and particle plastic diphtalata in some Plantaze products, and would therefore be banning the producer from importing its products into Russia.

Around 20% of Plantaze exports are to Russia, with the company also exporting to 42  other countries, “some of which have the strictest quality control, and we have never had such problems”, said its manager Milan Milutinovic.

Plantaze is fighting the ban in court and disputing the claims made by Rospotrebnadzor, but has since made clear that its believes the ban was politically motivated by the Balkan country’s imminent accession to NATO.

Montenegro is expected to become a member of NATO later this year, with its parliament set to ratify its NATO treaty entry this Friday.

“It is clear that the decision is in the context of NATO membership,” said Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic in a press conference, reported by South China Morning Post, during which he said Russian citizens had “lost an opportunity to consume the best wines” owing to the “irresponsible policy” of their authorities.

Russia has expressed strong opposition to Montenegro’s move to become part of Nato, previously describing its planned membership of the Western military alliance as “deeply erroneous”. Montenegro’s membership of NATO would reinforce the bloc’s presence in the Balkans as Greece, Croatia and Albania are already members.

It is not the first time that Russia has seemingly banned the import of alcohol under the auspices of sanitary failings or shortcomings in terms of labelling.

Both Sazerac and Jack Daniel’s have faced similar sanctions in the past, with Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor banning imports claiming that it had identified harmful chemical substances in certain batches of the spirits.

It had followed a ban on Ukranian drinks brands being imported in to Russia, following similar claims of labelling issues and apparent discrepancies in nutritional information, at a time of increased tension between the two countries.

One Response to “Russia bans wine imports from Montenegro”

  1. Robert says:

    If my friend betrayed me I would stop buying his wine.

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