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Trucks with Georgian tangerines that have been blocking a Caucasus highway for a few days will not be allowed into Russia
Trucks with Georgian tangerines that have been blocking a Caucasus highway for a few days will not be allowed into Russia, the country's sanitary watchdog said Monday. More than 60 trucks with citrus fruit from Georgia blocked the Transcaucasian Highway a few days ago in protest against Russian authorities' refusal to let them into the country. The Russian sanitary watchdog said the trucks failed to produce the required documents, and added that Moscow banned imports of Georgian fruit and vegetables in December 2005. "The tangerines cannot be brought into Russia as they have not undergone any sanitary control," an official of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Oversight said. "At least the drivers near the Nizhny Zaramag checkpoint have no documents certifying the cargo's sanitary state and origin." A source in Russian law enforcement agencies said the drivers were aware of the ban but ventured to bring them into Russia all the same. The source did not rule out that military force could be used to unblock the strategic highway. Relations between Russia and Georgia have been strained recently, especially after Russia, angered by the brief detention in Tbilisi of four of its army officers on espionage charges in September 2006, cut transportation and postal links with Georgia and deported hundreds of illegal Georgian migrants. After he was swept to power on the back of the 2003 "rose revolution", Georgia's U.S.-educated leader Mikheil Saakashvili took a course toward closer ties with NATO and the European Union, evoking discontent in Moscow and deteriorating the small Caucasus nation's relations with its more powerful neighbor.
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