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    Moscow expects immediate explanation from EU over E. coli outbreak

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    Moscow is expecting from the European Union immediate explanations over causes of an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of the E. coli bacteria that has killed over 20 people in Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

    Moscow is expecting from the European Union immediate explanations over causes of an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of the E. coli bacteria that has killed over 20 people in Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

    "We need to get from our European colleagues accurate answers as quickly as possible to our questions raised on the definition of this strain, its nature and what measures are taken to limit its spread," Lukashevich said. "Then all the issues can be resolved."

    Russia suspended fruit and vegetable imports from the European Union on June 2, a move that sparked criticism from EU officials for going against World Trade Organization policy. Russia also accused Brussels of failing to provide sufficient information about the source of the infection.

    Russia will maintain its ban on vegetable imports from the European Union until the EU provides all the necessary information on the origin and the spread of the bacteria, Russia's EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said on Tuesday.

    The source of the infection has not been clarified to date while EU information mainly consists of statistical data on the number of people affected or killed by the disease, he said.

    Reports earlier on Monday traced the virus to bean sprouts grown on a farm in Germany's Lower Saxony region, some 70 km (40 miles) south of Hamburg.

    Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann said on Sunday there was a "very clear trail" leading to a small farm near Uelzen in Lower Saxony that supplied various types of sprouts to restaurants and retailers.

    That information was later retracted.

    Germany will help Spain restore consumer confidence in its farm produce, Spanish Secretary of State for the EU Diego Lopez Garrido said on Thursday.

    Several hundred infected Europeans have developed hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a severe illness that can lead to kidney disease, coma and death.

    MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti)

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