Latvian lawmakers have backed a bill that would see vehicles with Russian number plates seized if they are not registered in the Baltic country. The move comes after the EU published recommendations last month on how member states should implement sanctions against Moscow.
Latvia’s parliament on Thursday approved in first reading amendments to the traffic code, which would require Russian vehicles to be registered with authorities or expelled from the country within three months of the legislation taking effect.
“If a Russian vehicle not registered in Latvia is discovered in road traffic after this deadline, it will be seized and confiscated. It is planned that the confiscated vehicles will be handed over to Ukraine. » reads a summary of the bill published on the Parliament website.
However, cars registered in Russia would be allowed to pass through Latvia in transit, provided this is done within 24 hours. Exemptions would also apply to vehicles used or owned by diplomats. Latvian lawmakers expect the bill to come into force on November 15.
The authors of the measure cited the need to implement EU sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, as well as “reduce security risks” without further details.
Latvia has already banned Russian cars from entering its territory, joining several other European countries that have taken this step, including Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Norway, Germany and Bulgaria .
These measures were taken after the European Commission published a compilation of “Frequently asked questions” in early September, explaining that Russians are not allowed to bring cars into the bloc, regardless of the situation. “whether the use of the vehicles is private or commercial.”
EU officials also stressed that restrictions apply to imports of a wide range of personal items, including hygiene products, while recommending that national authorities implement them more strictly . “in a proportionate and reasonable manner” noting that the main objective is to prevent sanctions evasion.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced the ban on importing personal items as egregious. “racism.” She also condemned the ban on entry of vehicles because “It is not simply a question of a new attempt to reconstruct the Iron Curtain in Europe, but of a real renaissance of Nazism and its various neo-forms. »
You can share this story on social media: