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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moldovan Wine May Be Banned in 2 Weeks

The Federal Consumer Protection Service said Saturday that it might ban imports of wine from Moldova within two weeks, amid a dispute over the two countries' Soviet-era history.

The watchdog has already barred tens of thousands of bottles of Moldovan wine from sale this month, citing quality problems. A total ban would severely damage a vital sector of Moldova's economy, since the country exports about 20 percent of its total wine production to Russia.

Wine production accounts for about one-fifth of Moldova's gross domestic product and up to 30 percent of its export revenues.

Gennady Onishchenko, the consumer protection service's director, said that roughly half of recently imported Moldovan wine was substandard.

"If the situation does not change in the next two weeks and every imported bottle of quality wine [continues to be] accompanied by one of poor quality, the prohibition measures will be implemented," Onishchenko told Interfax.

Tension between the countries flared after Moldova's acting president, Mihai Ghimpu, last month proclaimed June 28 “Soviet Occupation Day.” Moldova's constitutional court later canceled the decree, ruling that Ghimpu had no authority to issue it.

Onishchenko has repeatedly cited concerns over Moldovan wine. He has said the wine could be used to "paint fences" and was dangerous to drink because of allegedly toxic ingredients.

In 2006, Russia banned wine from traditional suppliers Georgia and Moldova, sparking accusations that Moscow was trying to punish West-leaning leaders in former Soviet republics by targeting their most lucrative exports.