Moscow. September 17. INTERFAX.RU – Poland, into which the entry of passenger cars with Russian license plates is prohibited from 00:00 on September 17, has become the last EU country bordering Russia to take such measures. This week, the Baltic countries and Finland also announced a ban on the entry of cars with Russian license plates.
The European Commission previously published clarifications according to which Russian citizens can no longer enter the EU in cars with Russian license plates.
However, this is a recommendation on the interpretation of existing rules. The decision on how to interpret the document depends on the position of the authorities of a particular EU country.
Russia in the western direction still has a small section of the border with Norway, which has not announced any restrictions on the passage of cars with Russian license plates. But Norway is not a member of the EU, although it is part of the Schengen area.
The ban on the entry of cars with Russian license plates into Poland comes into force on September 17.
“Starting Sunday, a ban on entry into Poland will be introduced for passenger cars registered in Russia,” Polish Radio reported, citing the head of the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mariusz Kamiński.
He recalled that such a ban had been introduced earlier for freight vehicles.
“Now, no vehicle registered in Russia, commercial or private, has the right to enter Poland, regardless of whether its owner is a citizen of Russia or another country,” the minister explained.
Poland also notified Belarus that it would stop allowing cars with Russian license plates to cross the state border.
“According to official information received from the Polish side, from 00:00 on September 17, the entry into Poland of vehicles registered on the territory of the Russian Federation is suspended,” the State Border Committee of Belarus reported.
In Lithuania, restrictions on crossing the border in cars with Russian license plates were announced on September 12.
The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania, Agne Bilotaite, said that Russian cars entering the country should be confiscated in accordance with the latest interpretation of the European Commission on sanctions applied against the Russian Federation.
“Cars that are registered in Russia must be confiscated if they enter Lithuania. This control will be ensured by customs authorities,” Bilotaite told reporters.
At the same time, according to the Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov, the transit of road transport through Lithuania to the Kaliningrad Region and back is not subject to EU restrictions.
“We have now received clarification from the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: if this is the so-called Kaliningrad transit, that is, the movement of Kaliningrad residents with Kaliningrad license plates from the Kaliningrad region to the main territory of Russia through Lithuania and in the opposite direction, there are no restrictions,” Alikhanov said on air at the Regional Management Center “.
On September 12, Latvia also announced a ban on cars with Russian license plates entering the European Union through border checkpoints.
“In accordance with the explanations of the European Commission and the position of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, persons driving cars with Russian license plates are not allowed to enter the European Union through the Latvian-Russian and Latvian-Belarusian border points,” the Latvian State Revenue Service noted on September 12.
The department emphasized that those entering in such vehicles will be forced to return to Russia or Belarus, and in case of refusal to comply with the instructions of the customs authorities in accordance with customs legislation, a decision may be made to confiscate the vehicle.
At the same time, the department strongly recommended refraining from repeated attempts to enter the EU through various border crossing points; Latvian legislation provides for criminal liability for non-compliance with sanctions.
Estonia banned the entry into the country of vehicles with Russian license plates on September 13.
“Estonia follows the directive published by the European Commission on September 8 on further clarification of the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation, according to which vehicles registered in the Russian Federation are no longer allowed to enter the territory of the European Union,” said Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets.
He noted that the restrictions are applied in agreement with Latvia and Lithuania.
When a vehicle with a Russian registration plate enters a border checkpoint, the Estonian Tax and Customs Department will carry out the appropriate procedures. The user or owner will either have to return to Russia with the car or cross the border without it.
Finland has also banned entry for cars with Russian license plates since September 16.
“Following Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Finland bans the entry into the country of cars with Russian license plates. The ban comes into force on September 16,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen.
However, she said there will be exceptions to the rules. So, there are no plans to confiscate cars at the border. In addition, the new regulation does not apply to EU citizens, people from their immediate circle, members of diplomatic missions or people traveling to Finland for humanitarian reasons. At the same time, even permanent residence in the country will not give the right to use cars registered in Russia in Finland.
According to Valtonen, “the restrictions will also apply to cars with Russian license plates already in Finland.” “Vehicles registered in Russia must leave the country before March 16, 2024,” she noted.
Yle, citing sources, clarifies that “vehicles with Russian license plates and designed for less than ten passengers will no longer be able to cross the border.”