Russian customs officials have noted a particularly “miraculous” apple yield in Belarus, a country that managed to sell Russia five times more apples than it officially harvested.
Russian law enforcement agencies have blamed the discrepancy in 2015’s figures on forged documents used to smuggle sanctioned, European produce over the Russian-Belarusian border, the RIA Novosti agency reported.
“Goods that have been sanctioned by Russia often come to the border with fake documents declaring them as Belarusian goods,” said Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Malinovsky.
"Some 573,000 tons of Belarusian apples and mushrooms were imported to Russia in 2015 — five times more than what was actually harvested there,” he said.
The Belarusian government announced last week that it had arrested a smuggling ring involved in bringing sanctioned goods over the Russian border.
Russia introduced an embargo on a long list of food products, including meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables, and salt in August 2014. The measures affect countries in the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. They were instituted against the states that have imposed sanctions on Moscow for the annexation of Crimea.