UPDATE 1-Russia bans Ukrainian dairy imports from six companies

Mon Apr 7, 2014 3:17am EDT

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MOSCOW, April 7 (Reuters) - Russia's consumer protection agency said on Monday it had suspended imports from six Ukrainian dairy producers, the latest sign of worsening trade relations between the two countries since Russia annexed Crimea.

The ban follows similar moves from Ukraine, which last week temporarily suspended seven Russian food companies from selling products on Ukrainian territory, part of worsening economic relations since Ukraine's new leaders signalled they would press for closer ties with the West.

Russia's Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement it had found that the dairy products violated regulations after conducting laboratory tests. "To ensure consumer rights Rospotrebnadzor has suspended imports into the Russian Federation of (six) Ukrainian dairy producers," the agency said.

Cheese accounts for 0.5 percent of Ukraine's total exports and is Ukraine's 10th largest export to Russia, according to Nomura analysts.

Trade relations between Ukraine and Russia have been rocky for the past few years. (Reporting by Alessandra Prentice, editing by Elizabeth Piper)