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Lithuanian customs discover scheme to violate sanctions, export cars to Russia

by Nate Ostiller June 28, 2024 7:11 PM 1 min read
Cars and people with bicycles wait at the Sumskas border crossing point between Lithuania and Belarus on Aug. 12, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images)
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Lithuanian customs authorities discovered a scheme to violate sanctions by exporting cars to Russia and Belarus, the LRT media outlet reported on June 28, citing the customs service.

The EU instituted a ban on the export of all new and used cars above a certain engine size (greater than 1.900 cm³) to Russia in the immediate aftermath of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Cars from Europe have nonetheless continued to enter Russia through a variety of schemes to circumvent the ban.

"Trucks with semi-trailers, owned by business entities registered in Lithuania, leave for (Russia or Belarus), ostensibly to transport goods or to pick them up, but never return, and their registration is simply changed abroad," the Lithuanian customs service said.

To transport luxury vehicles, people register them in their own names, drive them to Russia, and then keep them there.

"This is an attempt to evade the stricter controls by the Lithuanian customs authorities regarding the possible entry of cars into Russia," the customs service said.

Authorities will strengthen the monitoring of companies that transport vehicles in response. Violators could face fines "between 50 and 100% of the value of the goods," according to the customs service.

Lithuania to allocate at least 0.25% of its GDP to support Ukraine’s security, defense
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced on June 26 that Lithuania will allocate at least 0.25% of its GDP to assist Ukraine’s security and defense.

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