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The ethical debate behind South Korea’s Russian crab craze

STORY: Plunging prices for Russian crab have South Koreans flocking to seafood markets like this one in Seoul. This vendor says the drop in prices has seen visitors double from 100 to around 200 people per day. The dinner-plate sized king crabs from Russia, along with slightly smaller snow crabs and lobsters, were once a pricey delicacy in South Korea, though they have become more popular at supermarkets and online retailers in recent years.Prices have nearly halved since late February as the United States and the EU among others banned Russian seafood imports over the Ukraine invasion, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.But not all customers have a craving for crustaceans.”Russian crab is not even a necessity. I don’t think it’s right to import from Russia and eat them because they are cheap. So, I oppose importing them and I think we should impose sanctions against Russia and join others calling for a quick end to the war.”Some consumers are questioning whether to boycott the imports on concerns the purchases indirectly support Russia’s actions, suggesting the government should join global efforts to ban Russian seafood, and consumers should refrain from buying it.South Korea has curbed Russian coal imports and joined other economic and financial sanctions, but has not restricted food.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy – who has urged the international community to ditch Russian exports – is set to give a virtual speech to the South Korean parliament on Monday (April 11)

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