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Russians Protest Destruction of Banned Food Imports

A man holds a poster saying "Is there no one to feed in our country?" during a rally against food destruction in St. Petersburg.

A petition asking President Vladimir Putin to stop the destruction of food products banned for import into Russia has gathered more than 500,000 signatures.

In a statement on the Change.org platform, the organizers of the petition call on Putin to annul a decree ordering the destruction of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from Western countries whose import was banned in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Media footage showed heaps of confiscated goods being bulldozed or thrown into incinerators after the decree went into force in August.

The statement also appeals to the State Duma to pass an urgent decree allowing confiscated products to be donated to people who need them.

"Why destroy food that could be used to feed veterans, pensioners, the disabled, large families, victims of natural disasters and other people in need?" the petition asks.

Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said last month that 738 tons of produce had already been destroyed.

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