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Four McDonald’s outlets in Moscow have been ordered by Russian courts to close for 90 days, citing breaches of sanitary rules.

The restaurants were initially told to close on August 21 after criticism from the Russian state food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

McDonald’s had been hoping to re-open its branches as soon as possible.

The company said it will appeal the rulings and is examining the judgements given by the court.

“We do not agree with the court’s resolution and will appeal against this resolution in accordance with the procedure established by law,” McDonalds said in a statement.

Four McDonald's outlets in Moscow have been ordered by Russian courts to close for 90 days, citing breaches of sanitary rules

Four McDonald’s outlets in Moscow have been ordered by Russian courts to close for 90 days, citing breaches of sanitary rules

The company said it would do its best to continue its operations in Russia.

The Moscow restaurants affected are on Pushkin Square, Manezh Square, Prospect Mira and Varshavskoye Shosse.

Two regional McDonald’s outlets in Stavropol and Ekaterinburg also remain closed, following the allegations last week that the company had breached “numerous” sanitary laws.

“We will continue taking care of our employees and will do our best to continue the success of McDonald’s business in Russia,” McDonald’s said.

The court ruling comes amid a tense stand-off between Russia and the West over the situation in Ukraine.

The EU and US have imposed sanctions against Russia over its role in the conflict. Moscow has responded with a trade embargo against food imports from the West.

The safety watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, has so far ordered the temporary closure of a total of six McDonald’s restaurants in Russia and has introduced unscheduled spot checks in the fast food company’s outlets across the country.

Rospotrebnadzor has denied that its actions are politically motivated.

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McDonald’s has been sued by Russia’s main consumer watchdog, urging the restaurant chain to withdraw certain products.

Rospotrebnadzor said its inspectors in the city of Novgorod, western Russia, had found violations of food standards by McDonald’s.

Cheeseburgers and Filet-o-Fish are among the foods named in the complaint.

Russia is a major market for McDonald’s.

In early April, McDonald’s suspended work at its three Crimean restaurants, following Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

McDonald's has been sued by Russia's main consumer watchdog, urging the restaurant chain to withdraw certain products

McDonald’s has been sued by Russia’s main consumer watchdog, urging the restaurant chain to withdraw certain products

McDonald’s operates about 400 restaurants in Russia. The first one opened in Moscow in 1990, and the burgers quickly became very popular among Russians.

The court case comes at a low point in Russian-US relations, after Washington imposed sanctions on some top Russian officials and firms allegedly linked to the pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine.

Rospotrebnadzor’s complaint alleges contamination of a McDonald’s product tested in Novgorod and misleading nutritional information, Russian media report.

Separately, Russia’s food hygiene authorities have announced a ban on dairy imports from Ukraine.

Russian officials spoke of sub-standard quality controls. Dairy produce accounts for only a small fraction of Ukraine’s exports to Russia, Reuters news agency reports.

The ban follows similar moves against Ukrainian food and drink exports in recent months, amid a crisis in relations between Kiev and Moscow. The Ukrainian authorities say Russia is using trade to exert political pressure.

Previously Russia has also imposed such boycotts on Georgia and Moldova – former Soviet republics, like Ukraine, whose pro-Western policies have angered the Kremlin.

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