Russia has banned imports of agriculture products from 31 of 34 regions of Moldova starting from 15 August, its agriculture safety watchdog said on Tuesday.
Russia has a history of using bans on food imports in trade disputes with other countries. Moldova buys natural gas from Russia and asked Russian gas giant Gazprom earlier in August if it could delay its payment for this month.
The watchdog had to impose the restrictions 'due to repeated detection of dangerous quarantine objects in Moldovan products entering Russia', it added in a statement.
Moldova has reduced supplies of fruits to Russia since Moscow sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on 24 February due to complicated logistics and higher transportation costs. However, supplies to the country are still important to farmers in Moldova.
Moldova supplied 168,000 tonnes of agriculture products, mainly apples, plums and grapes to Russia so far this year, Interfax news agency reported.
Last year, Russia and Moldova agreed to lift trade restrictions and said it was ready for mutually beneficial ties.
In 2013, Russia banned imports of Moldovan wines and spirits, one of the ex-Soviet republic's main export earners, in a move that was seen as retaliation for the small country's drive to expand ties with the European Union.
Elsewhere, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations have agreed that ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone.