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Kyiv Threatens Legal Action Over Auction Of Vintage Crimean Wines

Kyiv is threatening to take legal action over the decision by a leading winemaker in Russian-annexed Ukraine to put 13,000 vintage bottles up for auction.

Oleksandr Liev, a Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry official, told AFP December 29 that the winemaker, Massandra, was "squandering Ukrainian heritage" and that Kyiv could launch a criminal probe into the action.

He warned that Russian and foreign collectors buying the vintage wines could face "international sanctions for illegal economic actions in annexed Crimea."

Massandra is offering the wines, some of which date from 1935, for sale at the winery and online.

The legendary Crimean winemaker was already at the center of a scandal in September when Russian President Vladimir Putin and ex-Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi reportedly drank a $100,000 bottle of 240-year-old sherry from the winery's archive collection.

Based on reporting by AFP