Russia has banned the importation of Moldovan wines and spirits over quality concerns, according to reports.

Gennady Onishchenko, Russia's Chief Sanitary Inspector, claimed that there has been “violations in technical preparation, storage and end-production” of Moldovan products, Reuters reported yesterday (10 September), citing the Interfax news agency. "The ban is a necessary step that we have undertaken reluctantly, but it is the only possible way of solving the present situation," he was reported as saying.

Russia previously banned imports of Moldovan wine in 2006 over similar concerns, with the embargo lifted in late 2007. Moldovan wines account for around 10% of total category sales in Russia. 

Valerii Lazar, Moldova's economy minister told Reuters: "We will have to clarify where technical problems about the quality of Moldovan wine end and where political aspects begin."

It has been suggested that the new ban has been introduced because Russia is unhappy with Moldova stepping up its commerical ties with the European Union, in favour of expanding its links to Russia.