On Wednesday, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia jointly implemented a ban on vehicles bearing Russian license plates from entering their respective countries. This action was taken by the three Baltic states in accordance with the updated guidelines issued by the European Commission.
“At present, Russian citizens can cross the border only with valid travel documents, either by bus or on foot,” said Jovita Neliupsiene, Lithuania’s vice minister of Foreign Affairs, in a statement.
However, she added, vehicles going to Kaliningrad, a Russian territory with no land connection to Russia and located on the Baltic Sea coast between Lithuania and Poland, will be exempt from the ban.
Meanwhile, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said in a separate statement that “the decision to ban vehicles with Russian license plates from entering Estonia is the right thing to do, and I am glad that the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance have promptly implemented it.”
Tsahkna added that the updated guidelines of the European Commission on vehicles with Russian license plates are completely in line with Estonia’s foreign policy interests, positions, and sanctions policy.
“We cannot allow citizens of an aggressor state to enjoy the benefits offered by freedom and democracy while Russia continues its ‘genocide’ in Ukraine,” he added.
Noting that he will hold a video conference meeting with neighboring countries, he said the issue will be the first item on the agenda.
Separately, Latvia has taken a similar step, prohibiting the entry of vehicles with Russian license plates, according to local media.
On Friday, the European Commission urged member states to prohibit the entry of vehicles with Russian license plates.
The ban is part of the sanctions that the bloc has imposed on Russia.