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Russia restricts imports of agriculture products from Moldova

* This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Russia has banned imports of agriculture products from 31 of 34 regions of Moldova starting from Aug. 15, its agriculture safety watchdog said on Tuesday.

Russia has a history of using bans on food imports in trade disputes with other countries. Moldova buys natural gas from Russia and asked Russian gas giant Gazprom earlier in August if it could delay its payment for this month.

The watchdog had to impose the restrictions "due to repeated detection of dangerous quarantine objects in Moldovan products entering Russia", it added in a statement.

Moldova has reduced supplies of fruits to Russia since Moscow sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24 due to complicated logistics and higher transportation costs. However, supplies to the country are still important to farmers in Moldova.

Moldova supplied 168,000 tonnes of agriculture products, mainly apples, plums and grapes to Russia so far this year, Interfax news agency reported. (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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