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EU confirms sanctions: Russian vehicles face entry restrictions

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In a significant development, the European Commission has officially clarified the interpretation of its sanction laws concerning Russia, stating that the entry of passenger vehicles registered in Russia into European Union (EU) member states is considered prohibited import.

According to the new guidelines released by the European Commission, the type of vehicle, whether used for private or commercial purposes, is irrelevant as long as it falls under the customs codes listed in Appendix XXI, including code 8703. Additionally, the Commission’s statement suggests that vehicles with Russian license plates registered in Russia are most likely considered “exported” from Russia.

This clarification comes after several incidents during the summer where Russian citizens driving their vehicles into Germany faced vehicle seizures at customs checkpoints. German customs officials justified these actions by referencing Article 3i of Regulation 833/2014, which defines the embargo against Russia and encompasses the movement of goods, even for personal, non-commercial purposes.

However, in response to questions from journalists, the European Commission clarified that EU member states are not obliged to confiscate personal belongings of Russian tourists entering the EU, such as clothing.

Items that European customs authorities may not allow to pass through include, but are not limited to:

Cosmetics (HS code 3304)
Suitcases (4202)
Laptops (8471)
Mobile phones (8517)
all of which are specified in Appendix XXI to Article 3i.

Additionally, the same appendix includes products made of leather and fur, semi-precious and precious stones, toiletries, trailers and semi-trailers for cargo transportation, yachts, and cameras.

In light of the European Commission’s clarification regarding the confiscation of Russian vehicles, the Russian Embassy in Lithuania has advised Russian citizens to refrain from traveling to Lithuania in vehicles with Russian license plates, except in cases where individuals are traveling via the Baltic Republic to the Kaliningrad Oblast and/or back, holding a simplified transit document.

This latest development reflects the continued implementation of sanctions against Russia within the EU, impacting various aspects of international travel and trade. It also underscores the importance of understanding and adhering to the evolving regulations when traveling between Russia and the EU.

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