UK

#EatApples To Annoy Vladimir Putin: Polish People Bite Back At Russian Ban With Fruity Selfies

02/08/2014 14:53 BST | Updated 02/08/2014 14:59 BST

Poles are gleefully eating apples just to bite back at Vladimir Putin - after Russia slapped an embargo on Polish produce in retaliation against Western sanctions.

Poland is the world's largest exporter of apples, with €438m worth of exports a year, making Russia's decision to ban their import highly symbolic.

Earlier this week the business newspaper Puls Biznesu published an editorial entitled “Stand against Putin: eat apples, drink cider” after Russia banned all apple imports from Poland.

"#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, then tweeted on Thursday, sparking the viral trend.

Moscow's ban on Polish apples has been seen as a response to Poland's support for EU sanctions against Russia, the country's communist-era overlord, over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

In an interview for the broadcaster TVN24, Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz said he "would rather Poland paid in apples than in blood" for the Ukrainian conflict.

In a tongue-in-cheek retaliation, Poles eagerly joined the apple-eating campaign, tweeting photos of themselves biting into apples or drinking cider.

Even players from Poland’s GKS Tychy ice hockey team participated:

Along with major Polish grocery chain POLOmarket:

And presenters at national broadcaster Telewizja Polska.