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Lithuania to impound Russian cars entering country — Interior Ministry head

The Lithuanian customs office representative additionally explained that the legal status of vehicles registered in Russia had not been clarified until now

VILNIUS, September 12. /TASS/. Lithuanian customs authorities will impound any cars that try to enter the country with license plates registered in Russia in accordance with the EU Commission's latest interpretation of how sanctions apply to Russia, head of the Interior Ministry of the republic Agne Bilotaite said in an interview with the national radio LRT.

"Any person crossing the border, whether a Russian or EU citizen, having license plates registered in Russia, who does not have documents confirming that he or she is traveling in transit to Kaliningrad, should know that their car will be impounded," Bilotaite said.

Rolandas Jurgaitis, a Lithuanian customs office representative, explained that the legal status of vehicles registered in Russia had not been clarified until now. According to him, "the new clarification emphasizes that if [a car] is registered in Russia, with Russian license plates, it cannot be taken" into EU territory.

Per the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service, about 58,000 cars with Russian license plates have entered Lithuanian territory over the past year and a half, the radio reported. The source notes that the ban on entry will not apply to cars with Belarusian registration plates.

The Finnish TV channel Yle informed earlier that the entry of cars with Russian registration into Finland is still allowed, they will not be subject to impounding in accordance with previous explanations from the European Commission.

The European Commission issued new clarifications regarding the application of sanctions against Russia on September 8. In accordance with them, a ban is imposed on imports from Russia to the EU of goods listed in Annex XXI to EU Directive No. 833/2014, regardless of the purpose of their use or period of stay in the EU, including "vehicles with a total number of seats less than 10." The EC emphasizes that "it does not matter whether the use of the vehicles is private or commercial." The list contains a wide range of all sorts of items, from cell phones and audio, video recording devices to suitcases, clothing items, toothpaste, shampoo and other hygiene products.