Sanctioned goods reaching Estonia originate in countries other than Russia

Narva border crossing.
Narva border crossing. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

Sanctioned goods are still arriving across the Estonia-Russia border at Narva, but the items themselves originated from countries other than the Russian Federation, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday.

A large number of steel and oil products and fertilizers arrive in Estonia via Russia. These are, at least according to the presented documentation, not of Russian origin, but have transited through Russia, and originated, for instance, in the Central Asian republics.

In any case, Russian-origin products are generally sanctioned.

Ants Kutti, head of the external borders of the Tax and Customs Board (MTA), told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "The imports from Russia and products of Russian origin are under sanction. Currently, the products which have been arriving have mostly come from Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Georgia."

"Customs checks and requests additional documentation, including bank transfers and contracts, so we have had no reason to doubt their origin or fear they actually have come, fraudulently, straight from Russia,"

This means that products such as fertilizers and petroleum-based items are being imported legally, he said.

Over 100 trucks pass through the Narva customs checkpoint in each direction daily and, while this is about half the pre-war figure, the smaller numbers at least provide more time to thoroughly check what these trucks are carrying.

At the same time, the growing list of sanctioned items has led to a workload around 50 percent higher than it had been, for MTA officials.

Greater sanctions can also lead to greater scope for smuggling, though Kutti told AK that euro banknotes – with the average amount seized from private individuals being in the region of €5,000-€6,000 – are a common item, as are motoring items such as oil and spare parts.

"It seems that there is a very serious shortage over there [in Russia] of these things," Kutti said.

Since the end of June, passenger cars have been barred for export to Russia for sale, and more and more cars with fake papers are being apprehended at Narva checkpoint, AK reported.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Jüri Nikolaev

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