Day one of Russian vehicles entry ban into Estonia passes off peacefully

Estonian-Russian border checkpoint in Narva.
Estonian-Russian border checkpoint in Narva. Source: ERR

The first day following a ban on Russian vehicles entry into Estonia passed relatively calmly at the Narva border checkpoint, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported, with vehicles bearing Russian license plates only seen leaving the country.

Based on the evidence of registration plates of those vehicles crossing the border, the information about the ban was disseminated quite quickly. Traffic numbers crossing into Estonia were low on Wednesday, and only cars bearing EU registration plates were seen, AK reported.

The ban came into effect at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, shortly after it was announced.

Vehicles with EU license plates are permitted entry regardless of ownership.

The ban affects private vehicles with Russian license plates – exemptions include larger passenger buses, motorbikes and vehicles with diplomatic plates.

Ants Kutti, Tax and Customs Board (MTA) external border area manager, told AK that: "Things have really been very calm. There are no vehicles at Narva, Luhamaa and Koidula," referring to the vehicle checkpoints on Estonia's eastern border.

"In the course of today, we have issued warnings to at least 17 drivers, telling them that they cannot enter with a vehicle registered in Russia. They have been taking an understanding attitude, take this on board and leave EU territory," Kutti went on.

On the other hand, cars with Russian license plates were seen in line waiting to exit Estonia.

Wednesday's ban had come as bad news for the owner of one such vehicle, Maksim, who said he is resident in Narva-Jõesuu, to the North of Narva.

"This is a bad thing – we live here," Maksim told AK.

"I am taking the car out of Estonia now, as tomorrow they are going to talk about the potential confiscation of cars. We will leave the car in Russia, purchase a new one here [in Estonia] and then come back across the border on foot. This is simply another inconvenience," Maksim went on.

The MTA put the figure of vehicles with Russian license plates crossing the border into Estonia and which will now be caught by the ban at around 400 per month.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Jüri Nikolaev

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