Ukraine appeals to WTO over Russian ban on fruit and vegetable imports

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine has complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about a decision by Russia to ban imports of fruit and vegetables from the country, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday.

The ban, which came in force on Oct. 22, was the latest trade barrier erected by Russia in a trade and sanctions war linked to international tensions over Ukraine.

Russia said it was imposing the ban because there was a suspicion that the goods are from the European Union and were being imported through Ukraine to evade Russian measures against the EU.

The Ukrainian ministry said Russia had violated international and bilateral agreements and did not submit any request to Kiev before it imposed the ban.

It said Ukrainian losses could total $17 million by the end of this year.

Ukraine exported 81,000 tonnes of vegetables and fruit to Russia in the first nine month of this year, with tomatoes, cucumber, apples, pears and apricots dominating the shipments.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by David Holmes)