Sanctioned goods reaching Russia via special permits and rules violations

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

While it is prohibited to move sanctioned items to Russia and Belarus, such goods are still crossing the eastern border as a result of customs rules violations and special permits issued to companies.

It is allowed to move certain articles from Estonia through Russia to third countries as transit goods. But customs have found cases where goods have remained in Russia. The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) does not maintain detailed statistics on such violations, while it has blocked hundreds of attempts to move sanctioned goods to Russia.

"In cases where we have evidence and we are confident we know the facts, when the same company tries to send goods following the same scheme again, we are obligated to manage and prevent risks. We will either block the shipment or ask the firm to provide additional documentation," said Ants Kutti, head of customs supervision for the eastern border for the MTA.

There is a legal way sanctioned goods are moving to the aggressor states, while such special permits are issued only in isolated cases. Such a special permit has also been issued to Stark Logistics, which lies at the heart of the prime minister's Russia business scandal.

"The sanctioning party has prescribed a transition period for companies that have existing supply contracts, which are usually given three months to perform them," Kutti clarified.

The MTA representative said that companies should observe a kind of ethics code where they avoid participating in business models one of the participants in which might end up violating sanctions.

Over 500 Estonian companies are involved in trade with the aggressor states, according to MTA data.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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