Russia has shifted its attention from Moldova and Georgia's wines to check the quality of wines from China and Ukraine, according to local reports.

The Moscow Times said yesterday (12 September) that Russia's chief health inspector has ordered tests of wines coming from the neighbouring countries.

"As part of the work to control alcohol-containing products that have replaced Moldovan and Georgian wines on the Russian market, we have been checking sample products from China and Ukraine," Onishchenko was cited as saying at the weekend.

Of 45 samples of Ukrainian alcoholic drinks, Onishchenko said that two were found to be unsafe for consumption, with another 11 not meeting taste and quality standards. Out of eight Chinese products, five did not meet the watchdog's standards, although the paper noted that it was not clear whether they were a danger to health or were of a poor quality.

The paper also said that Onishchenko has given no clear indication as to whether the two countries' wines would be banned.

Last year, around 14.5m bottles of Ukrainian wine were imported into Russia. China, meanwhile, only exported 1m bottles of wine to Russia in 2005.

Russia's bans of Georgian and Moldovan wines, announced earlier this year, have come amid worsening relations since Georgia's so-called Rose Revolution in 2003 and pro-Western moves by Moldova in early-2005.

Relations with Georgia soured further earlier this year when Russia's natural gas monopoly raised the price of its gas supplies to the country.