Russia marks anniversary of its ban on Western food by launching destruction of contraband

Russia has marked the one-year anniversary of its ban on Western agricultural products with an order to destroy contraband food, a move that has raised controversy amid the nation's economic downturn.

President Vladimir Putin's order to destroy the illegal imports underlines the Kremlin's determination to enforce the ban amid continuing tensions with the West over the Ukrainian crisis.

The national agricultural oversight agency, Rosselkhznadzor, said several shipments of banned imported products will be destroyed Thursday in the Urals' Orenburg region and Belgorod and Smolensk in western Russia.

Russia slapped a ban on many Western agricultural products on Aug. 6, 2014 in retaliation to the U.S. and EU sanctions over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine. Western sanctions helped drive Russia's economy into recession this year.