European companies Metro and Auchan continue commercial activities on the territory of Russia annexed Crimea bypassing international sanctions, reported Reuters.
The goods are delivered to the Crimean stores via a ferry that serves the Crimean port of Kerch.
The crossing agency spokesman said he does not know anything about the contracts with these companies. The companies claim they do not violate the law since the Crimean shops are run by their Russian subsidiaries that are not subject to sanctions.
Metro is fully aware of and complies with the EU laws and regulations, and, in this particular case, the applicable sanctions, said the company's representative.
The representative of "Auchan" also said the company is always working within the law.
This is against the spirit of the sanctions. But in the absence of a trade embargo, there is always a fine line between compliance and non-compliance, said one of the European officials on condition of anonymity.
The retailers also say they sell only goods produced in the Russian Federation. However, the journalists, who visited the Crimean shops, saw on the shelves many goods produced in the European Union.