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Saturday, August 9, 2014

What Russia can't live without

Australian wine wasn't on President Putin's banned list of foreign food. Australian wines, including Jacobs Creek, form part of Russia's top 10 list of products imported from Australia.

Lamb and sheep have also been excluded from the list.  And now a Victorian meat processing company has taken an extraordinarily brave political stance against Russia, suspending exports to the country.  The managing director of the Australian Lamb Group, John Verrall, had a distant connection to Albert Rizk and his wife who died on Malaysia flight MH17, shot down by suspected pro-Russian rebels.

As the owner of a business that exports to 69 countries, Mr Verrall said he was in the position to make a stand against President Putin. "Australian Lamb Group wants to send a very strong message to the Russian President that we, as an Australian company, will not abide the circumstances as they are currently unfolding with regard to the shooting down of flight MH17 and the recovery operations at the crash site" he said. "If businesses don't make a stand, then these people will get away with it."

He said that any Russian meat orders currently in production will be redirected to alternate destinations so "they won't be destroyed."

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Abbott described President Putin as a "bully" and said he would increase sanctions once Australian personnel were removed from the crash site. "I want to say very clearly we are working towards stronger sanctions" he said.