Russian farmers have been ordered by their government to destroy 360,000 eggs and almost 90,000 chicks that Moscow fears came from the Netherlands, because of the deadly avian-flu strain outbreak in that country.

Imports from Belgium have also been suspended, where there were also reports of the disease, although these remain unconfirmed, and the Russian Agriculture Ministry has asked European veterinary services to provide additional safety guarantees after antibodies to the virus were found in imported Dutch hatching eggs.

The ministry has also threatened to ban all poultry imports from the European Union, saying that European Commission control measures are insufficient. No cases of avian flu have been registered in Russia in the past 15 years.