UPDATE 2-Russia extends scrutiny of McDonald's restaurants
* Food safety watchdog to check outlets across Russia
* Cites complaints about quality and safety
* Regulator has already shut four restaurants in Moscow
* U.S.-Russia ties soured by Ukraine crisis (Adds McDonald's comment, checks underway in more regions)
By Polina Devitt
MOSCOW, Russia, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Russia ramped up its scrutiny of McDonald's restaurants on Thursday, as the state food safety watchdog began unscheduled checks in several Russian regions, a day after four branches in Moscow were shuttered by the same agency.
The food safety agency cited breaches of sanitary rules by restaurants in the fast food chain, but the action came after Moscow and the West imposed tit-for-tat sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. The agency denied that its actions were politically motivated.
"There are complaints about the quality and safety of the products in fast food restaurant chain McDonald's," said the regulatory agency, known in Russian as Rospotrebnadzor. It declined to comment on the scope of the planned checks.
The regulator said on Thursday it is already conducting checks at McDonald's outlets in the Ural mountains region of Sverdlovsk, the Volga region of Tatarstan, the central Voronezh region and the Moscow region. Continued...