The Finnish authorities have said that the country will no longer permit entry of cars with Russian licence plates in its territory.
Announcing the news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland said that the decision had been taken in line with the Commission’s interpretation instruction and the same noted that the ban started being effective on September 16.
As the Ministry explains, now that the ban has entered into force, only citizens of the EU permanently residing in Russia and their family members, diplomats, and those travelling for humanitarian reasons will be permitted entry into Finland with a car registered in Russia.
In the future, only an EU citizen permanently residing in Russia or his family member, a diplomat or a person comparable to him, or for humanitarian reasons, can bring a car registered in Russia to Finland. The restriction comes into effect on the night between Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16, at 00:00.
As for cars with Russian licence plates that were already in the territory of Finland before the decision entered into force, the Ministry said that they need to leave the country by March 16, 2024.
The Commission of the European Union issued an interpretation instruction regarding the ban on the import of Russian passenger cars into the bloc on September 8. According to the interpretation guide, in line with Council Regulation No. 833/2014, the entry of a car with Russian licence plates into the territory of the EU is unequivocally prohibited.
The interpretation of the regulation was updated by the Commission on September 12, with the latter emphasising that there is a risk of evasion of sanctions on cars and calling on the competent authorities of the member states to pay special attention to their entry.
Similar to Finland, Estonia has also banned the entry of Russian-registered cars into its territory. The decision of Estonia to ban entry to Russian-registered cars was announced by the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margus Tsahkna, who said that Russians are not welcome in the country to “enjoy the privileges freedom has to offer until Ukraine has achieved victory”.
In line with the EU Commission’s guidelines, the Estonian authorities said that the entry ban for vehicles applies regardless of the drivers’ grounds for their stay in Estonia or any other EU country.
The Russian authorities have already advised all citizens of the country against travelling to the EU with their cars.