Following similar decisions made by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania earlier this week, Finland is likewise banning personal cars with Russian license plates from entering the country from midnight Friday night, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported. Entry into Poland of cars registered in Russia will be banned also in Poland from Sunday, the Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The decision was announced by Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen at a press conference Friday.
According to Yle's information, after the entry ban enters into effect, Russian-registered cars with less than 10 passengers will no longer be permitted to enter Finland from Russia.
Cars subject to sanctions already in Finland have until March 16, 2024 to leave the country.
Like those of the Baltics', Finland's latest decision is based on new guidelines issued by the European Commission (link to PDF) last Friday regarding the enforcement of existing sanctions, according to which EU member states may not allow cars with Russian license plates into the EU.
The decision aims to prevent Russian citizens from circumventing sanctions imposed on the country in response to its war on Ukraine, the public broadcaster said.
Yle also quoted Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs (Eesti 200), who on Wednesday, the day Estonia's ban stepped into effect, commended Latvia and Lithuania for already having made similar decisions, noting that restrictions are more impactful when implemented jointly, thus also allowing them to further raise the cost of Russian aggression.
Finland, at the time, had not yet announced its own decision.
Welcomed decision made by our good neighbours.— Margus Tsahkna (@Tsahkna) September 15, 2023
Earlier this year, Finland already further tightened its restrictions on Russians entering the country. The changes have had an impact on the volume of traffic crossing its eastern border, but it nonetheless remains relatively busy.
Speaking to ERR last week, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that Estonia wants countries neighboring Russia to implement a common trade embargo, but negotiations on that front have been unsuccessful thus far, and the key player in this plan is Finland.
Poland follows the suit
On Saturday, September 16, Poland announced that it also bans cars with Russian number plates from entering the country, the Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Poland bans the entry of cars with Russian number plates from Sunday, September 17, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said.
The ban is part of Russia's sanctions, he added.
Editor: Aili Vahtla, Kristina Kersa