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Baltic countries ban entry for Russian registered vehicles

by Martin Fornusek September 13, 2023 12:28 PM 2 min read
Cars and people with bicycles wait at the Sumskas border crossing point between Lithuania and Belarus on Aug. 12, 2023. (Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images)
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Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have banned entry to their respective countries for vehicles registered in Russia after a recommendation by the European Commission.

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said on Sept. 13 that Tallinn is joining the measure announced by Latvia and Lithuania a day prior.

"Starting today... Estonia will deny entry to all Russian registered vehicles," Tsahkna wrote on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

"They are not welcome here to enjoy (the) privileges freedom has to offer until Ukraine has achieved victory."

The European Commission issued a document on Sept. 8 clarifying the guidelines of the sanctions imposed against Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.

The document said that, if Russian citizens enter the European Union in their own vehicles, it will be considered an illegal import and their cars can be confiscated regardless of the purpose or period of the expected stay.

Cosmetics, suitcases, appliances, leather and fur products, semi-precious and precious stones, and cameras can also be seized from Russian citizens upon entry.

The tensions on the borders of the Baltic countries with Russia and Belarus have been mounting due to Moscow's aggression against Ukraine, a migrant crisis orchestrated by Minsk, and the presence of the Russian Wagner mercenary group in Belarus.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland said earlier that they are ready to fully close their borders with the two countries if a "critical situation" occurs, fearing an escalating migration crisis and the Wagner Group's activity.

Latvia to consider closing border crossing with Belarus
The Latvian State Border Guard will ask the government to close the Silene border crossing with Belarus after a record number of people tried to illegally cross last week, the Latvian Radio reported on Sept. 11.
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