Polish '#eatapples' Twitter campaign bites back at Russia

Jozef Czarnocki bites an apple while holding a bottle of Polish cider to show his support for the twitter action "#eatapples to spite Putin", in Warsaw on July 31, 2014 (AFP Photo/Wojtek Radwanski)

Warsaw (AFP) - Poles launched a Twitter campaign on Thursday urging countrymen to "#eatapples to spite Putin" a day after Russia slapped an embargo on Polish produce in retaliation against Western sanctions.

Poland is the world's largest exporter of apples, making Russia's decision to ban their import highly symbolic.

"#jedzjablka (#eatapples) to spite Putin. Join the campaign to demonstrate what we're doing with the the Russian embargo," Stanislaw Koziej, national security advisory to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, tweeted on Thursday.

Moscow's ban on Polish apples is seen as a response to Poland's enthusiastic support for EU sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

Politicians, celebrities, journalists and other Polish Twitterati eagerly joined the campaign, tweeting photos of themselves biting into apples or drinking cider.

Other "fruit patriots" intent on easing the impact of the embargo on Polish growers posted recipes for apple pie and strudel and suggested sending all the apple cores to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia accounts for nearly seven percent of Polish agri-food exports annually and buys up one million tonnes of Polish apples each year, according to the latest Polish agriculture ministry figures.

Russian authorities on Wednesday slapped a ban on Polish fruit and vegetable imports beginning August 1.