Russian vodka exports plummeted to their lowest level in a decade in 2015 as international political tensions intensify.

The value of exported vodka fell by 40% to $111.9m, from $187.1m, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported. The volume of vodka exported dropped by 42%.

Exports to Ukraine, which was one of Russia's biggest export markets in previous years, dropped 70%.

Vodka exports to Ukraine reportedly started to fall after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. The conflict between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian government continues to harm relations between the neighbouring countries.

Russia's bombing campaign in Syria has also ratcheted up tensions with the West.

"The relations between Russia and the west has deteriorated, which could have been the biggest reason for the drop in Russian vodka sales," alcohol expert Vadim Drobiztold told the newspaper.

The UK was the biggest export market for Russia in 2015, followed by Germany and Latvia. The economic sanctions the US and the European Council introduced because of Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict also significantly hurt exports.

In response to the sanctions, Russia imposed a ban on European food imports, which has damaged trade relations significantly.

On Sunday (14 February), it was reported that Russia's trade with former Soviet countries dropped by almost a third in 2015. Business with Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland fell on the back of political tensions and falling commodity prices.