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Latvia to ban Russian-registered cars, confiscated vehicles to be sent to Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 2, 2023 5:30 PM 2 min read
Light trails left by passing traffic in Riga, Latvia, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 (Andrey Rudakov / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Russian vehicles not registered with the Latvian authorities by mid-February will be seized and sent to Ukraine, the Latvian parliament announced on Nov. 2.

The amendment to the law on road traffic was passed by the parliament in the final reading.

The law now requires owners of cars with Russian license plates to register the vehicle or remove them from Latvian territory within three months of the law's entry into force on Nov. 14.

Any unregistered Russian vehicles being driven in traffic after the Feb. 14 deadline "will be seized," and "the confiscated vehicles will be handed over to Ukraine."

Russian license plates will be allowed in Latvian road traffic only if the driver has diplomatic immunity or is crossing the territory of Latvia in transit. A Russian-registered vehicle will be able to transit through Latvia only once and must do so within 24 hours.

The Latvian parliament said the amendments were necessary "to implement the sanctions set by the European Union and reduce security risks."

It will not be the first time Latvia gifts confiscated vehicles to Ukraine.

Over one hundred cars have been confiscated from drunk drivers and donated to Ukraine by the Latvian government.

The latest batch of 20 confiscated cars will be gifted to the Poltava 1st City Hospital, a Kharkiv medical center, and the Kherson military administration, Latvian media reported on Oct. 31.

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