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Lithuania Restricted Entry of Russian-Registered Cars

Lithuania’s customs authorities have been vigilant for over a month, preventing attempts by Russian-registered cars from entering the country. This move comes as part of the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, which prohibit the entry of vehicles acquired or registered in Russia. The situation has evolved over the past few weeks, with the customs department actively enforcing these restrictions.

According to the European Commission’s explanation provided in September, cars registered in Russia cannot be allowed into the European Union. In the initial days, there were instances of Russian-registered cars attempting to enter Lithuania. However, these attempts dwindled as information spread among drivers, and they ceased trying to enter the country.

Irmina Frolova-Milašienė, a representative of the Customs Department, stated, “Currently, there are no attempts to enter with Russian license plates. In the first two weeks, we counted 70 cases (58 in the first week). The issue was present initially, but as people became informed, they stopped trying to enter Lithuania.”

Furthermore, any Russian-registered cars that had entered Lithuanian territory before are required to leave by March 11 of the next year. From this date, actions will be taken against vehicles registered in Russia, including potential detention and even confiscation, subject to court decisions. However, the customs authorities have not yet implemented such measures.

At border checkpoints, if it is determined that a car is registered in Russia, officials warn the driver that the vehicle cannot be allowed into Lithuanian territory. Drivers are also cautioned that attempting to enter again could lead to legal consequences, including fines and the confiscation of their vehicle, under Article 515 of the Administrative Offenses Code for violating international sanctions.

The European Commission’s clarification in mid-September outlines that cars acquired or registered in Russia cannot be admitted into the European Union. These requirements do not apply to transit to or from the Kaliningrad Oblast. The sanctions preventing the entry of Russian-registered vehicles and personal items into the EU are designed to restrict the flow of goods from Russia into the European community.

In collaboration with other Baltic states and Poland, Lithuania has also restricted the entry of Russians into the country and the European Union. Only individuals who meet the criteria approved by the Lithuanian government are permitted entry. This includes Russian diplomats, dissidents, employees of transportation companies, family members of EU citizens, and Russian nationals with Schengen Zone residency permits or long-term national visas. Russian citizens can still travel to and from the Kaliningrad Oblast via Lithuania using train routes.

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