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Ukraine Probes Putin, Berlusconi Wine Drinking In Crimea

Ukrainian prosecutors are prepared to file charges against the director of a winery in Russian-occupied Crimea for uncorking a 240-year old bottle for Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Putin and Berlusconi spent last weekend in Crimea, touring ancient ruins and visiting the peninsula's prized Massandra winery.

Massandra, which was nationalized following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, has rare wine and sherry dating back more than 200 years in its collection.

Russian television showed Berlusconi examining a bottle of 1775 Jerez de la Frontera wine from the cellars and asking the director -- Yanina Pavlenko -- if he could try it, and she uncorked the bottle for him and President Putin.

Ukrainian media quoted Ukraine's Deputy Prosecutor-General for Crimea, Nazar Kholodnytskiy, as saying embezzlement charges against Pavlenko will be filed soon.

Massandra winery had five bottles of 1775 Jerez de la Frontera wine before the annexation.

Two other bottles of that wine were sold at Sotheby’s auction in 1990 and 2001. One bottle of the wine costs $100,000-$150,000.

Based on reporting by AP, UNIAN and