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Moldovan Wine Faces Import Restrictions Amid Political Feud

A senior Russian official announced Wednesday that regulations on Moldovan wine imports might be tightened over safety concerns — just days after Chisinau angered Moscow by introducing a “Day of Soviet Occupation."

Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service, said tighter control might include canceling plans to open new border checkpoints for wine imports.

He linked the move to his agency's declaration Tuesday that a check had found that large quantities of Moldovan red wine were substandard.

The agency said in a statement that the discovery necessitated “additional measures to tighten control.”

Onishchenko said the possible wine crackdown was not linked to the Day of Soviet Occupation, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu signed a decree last week naming June 28 a national mourning day over the Soviet Union's annexation of Moldova in 1940. The decree also demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova's breakaway Transdnestr province.

The State Duma on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution that condemned the Day of Soviet Occupation, calling it a "planned political campaign against Russian-Moldovan cooperation" and a "direct attempt to distort historical facts."

The resolution echoed a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Monday.

But Ghimpu told Ekho Moskvy on Wednesday that Moldovan lawmakers never discussed Russian laws and decrees, and that Duma deputies had no right to criticize those in Moldova.

Moldova kept strong ties with Russia after regaining independence in 1991 but has tried to execute a foreign policy turn toward the European Union after Ghimpu came to power last year.

In April, the Federal Consumer Protection Service promised to tighten oversight of “substandard” Moldovan wine imports after Ghimpu refused to attend the Victory Day parade on Red Square.

Russia banned Moldovan and Georgian wine imports in 2006, citing customer safety, but began to ease regulations for Moldova the following year.

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