Russia Shuts Moscow McDonald's Restaurants
Russia's food safety watchdog has suspended operations at four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow over alleged sanitary law breaches.
The watchdog claimed the fast-food chain was responsible for "numerous violations of sanitary legislation requirements", adding it had sealed off the restaurants' premises.
McDonald's said in a statement that it is reviewing the Rospotrebnadzor watchdog's claims.
The company added that its "top priority is to provide safe and quality products" for its customers.
Among the restaurants closed was the first-ever McDonald's in Russia, which opened during the last days of the Soviet Union.
Another of the restaurants is located on Moscow's Manezh Square, under the walls of the Kremlin.
Last month Rospotrebnadzor†expressed doubts about the "quality and safety of food products in the entire McDonald's chain", which has 430 restaurants in Russia.
The watchdog also said it had taken legal action against McDonald's for alleged quality violations and improper labelling.
The closures come amid ongoing tensions between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine.
Earlier this month Russia banned the importation of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from the European Union, the United States and other Western countries.
The bans were imposed by Russia after the European Commission and the US froze assets of Russians who are close to President Vladimir Putin.
A source at the watchdog contacted by the Reuters news agency declined to comment when asked if the closures were in retaliation for Western sanctions.†
Many Western nations blame Russia for the continued fighting in Ukraine, which resulted in Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 being shot down in July.