Finland joins Baltic neighbors in banning Russian-registered cars from entering their territory

By Isaac M September 15, 2023

Finland on Friday joined the three Baltic countries in banning vehicles with Russian license plates from entering their territory, a joint move in line with a recent interpretation of the European Union’s sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine.

The Nordic EU member’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said the ban would stop private cars from entering Finland as of Friday midnight, Finnish broadcaster YLE said.

Earlier this week, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania imposed the measure. Estonia said the decision followed “the additional interpretation of the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation published by the European Commission” on Sept. 8.

As for the exclave of Kaliningrad, which is surrounded by Lithuania, Russian citizens will be able to continue transiting through the southernmost Baltic state by train.

Under the EU’s decision, motor vehicles registered in the Russian Federation are no longer allowed to enter the territory of the 27-member bloc, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic states are among the most vocal European critics of Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

YLE said that Russian-registered cars with fewer than 10 passengers will no longer be permitted to enter Finland from Russia, although some exceptions are likely.

In April, Finland joined NATO, doubling Russia’s border with the world’s biggest security alliance. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) border with its eastern neighbor.

The three Baltic states are also NATO members.


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