MOSCOW, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Lithuanian dairy company Pieno Zvaigzdes plans to start producing cheese in Russia's Moscow region next year, a regional agricultural ministry spokeswoman said, a move that would bypass a ban on some food imports.
Russia is switching to producing more dairy products locally after the government banned some Western foods in 2014, including most dairy products, in response to sanctions imposed on Moscow for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
The ban has hit European dairy and other food producers, some of which have opened or expanded food production in Russia, including Finland's Valio.
Pieno Zvaigzdes could produce 12,000 tonnes of cheese per year, the spokeswoman said. Pieno Zvaigzdes did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Tuesday that the Lithuanian company might invest 1 billion roubles ($17.3 million) in the Moscow project. ($1 = 57.8470 roubles) (Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya and Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Katya Golubkova/Keith Weir)