With the entry into force of the sixth package of EU sanctions from today, private individuals are no longer able to bring alcohol or many other goods, which had been allowed until now, from Russia to Estonia.
The transitional period, whereby certain sanctioned goods were able to be imported into the EU from Russia, or exported in the other direction, ended at midnight. While usually sanctions predominantly affect businesses and trade, from Monday they will also have an impact on which goods private individuals are able to import and export between the EU and Russia.
Travelers should also be aware of the restrictions related to alcohol imports. From Monday, strong alcoholic beverages including vodka, gin and liqueurs purchased in Russia can no longer be imported into the European Union, regardless of quantity. However, there are currently no new restrictions in place on the amounts of beer, wine or cider, which can be brought into the EU from Russia (16 liters of beer, four liters of wine, two liters of cider).
According to a press release by the Tax and Customs Board last month, it will now also be prohibited to import furniture, wood, wood products, fertilizers and a number of other goods individuals have, until now, brought from Russia to Estonia and other EU countries on a daily basis.
"It is very important to emphasize that these restrictions also apply to ordinary passengers. In other words, while individuals were permitted to bring into a liter of strong alcohol and 125 grams of caviar into Estonia tax free, this will no longer be possible from July 10. It will also be impossible to import wooden doors from the construction store in Pskov," Eerik Heldna, head of the MTA customs departmcent, said in June.
The MTA reminded travelers that it is already forbidden to take more cash to Russia than is needed to cover the expenses of their trip. Taking electrical items, such as smartphones or laptops worth more than €750, or other items worth over €300 into Russia is also prohibited, though this restriction does no apply to items for one's own personal use.
Violation of the sanctions will be considered a crime, with potential fines and up to five years' imprisonment administered depending on the nature of the offense committed.
In a press statement last month, Eerik Heldna, head of the MTA customs department said, "Consequences depend in each case on the circumstances, the type and value of goods involved and to what extent the person was aware of sanctions or had the obligation to be. But I urge people to take this matter seriously and carefully check what they buy from Russia to avoid problems."
For more information on the sanctions against Russia and Belarus, please visit the MTA website.
Editor: Michael Cole