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Estonia Implements Ban on Russian-Registered Vehicles Amidst EU Sanctions

Estonia has made the decision to prohibit the entry of vehicles with Russian license plates into the country. The announcement came from Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margus Tsahkna, who emphasized that Russians are not welcome in the country. The ban on cars with Russian license plates officially took effect on September 13.

Minister Tsahkna stated, "Starting from today, Estonia will deny entry to all Russian-registered vehicles. They are not welcome here to enjoy the privileges freedom has to offer until Ukraine has achieved victory."

This ban extends beyond private vehicles and also includes company transport operations, according to Estonian authorities. Minister of Interior Lauri Laanemets explained that Estonia's decision aligns with the EU Commission's guidance on sanctions compliance. He further hinted that Lithuania and Latvia might also consider similar bans on Russian vehicles, highlighting the effectiveness of jointly enforcing sanctions among neighboring countries.

The entry ban for Russian-registered vehicles applies regardless of the driver's reason for visiting Estonia or any other EU country, as per the EU Commission's guidelines.

The Estonian Tax and Customs Board is now responsible for implementing the necessary procedures at Estonian border checkpoints when vehicles with Russian plates attempt entry. Drivers of vehicles subject to the entry ban will be required to either return to Russia or cross the border without their vehicles.

Estonian authorities are also planning to address the issue of Russian-registered cars already present in the country.

In response to the new EU sanctions, the Russian Embassy in Helsinki issued a warning to citizens traveling to the EU with cars bearing Russian license plates. They cautioned that these cars could be confiscated and advised against traveling to Finland with Russian-registered vehicles. A similar warning was issued by the Russian Embassy in Berlin, urging Russians to avoid traveling to the country due to the possibility of vehicle confiscation.

The EU Commission recently confirmed that Russian nationals are banned from bringing personal items, including personal cars, smartphones, perfumes, and soaps, among others, when traveling to the EU. This move has been criticized by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, who characterized the EU's approach toward Russians as 'racist'.



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