In an attempt to provide support to the transport and interior sectors, the Ministry of Justice plans to submit to the Saeima a legislative draft for legislative amendments that would prohibit cars and other vehicles registered in Russia and Belarus from remaining in Latvia, as LETA was informed by the ministry.
The planned changes would allow authorities to impose a requirement for owners of vehicles registered in Russia and Belarus to re-register them in Latvia, as well as present consequences and liability for car owners who fail to comply with requirements.
If re-registration of vehicles or their departure from Latvia is not done within three months, amendments suggest imposing sanctions, confiscation of those vehicles included.
“Any guest that arrives in Latvia must respect our laws and order. Crossing the EU border using a vehicle registered in Russia and its presence in Latvia means a breach of sanctions. If a vehicle bearing Russian or Belarusian registration plates is not re-registered in due time, it may be confiscated in Ukraine’s favour to support their army on the front line,” stressed the minister.
At the same time, Russian and Belarusian citizens want to travel to Latvia, they are invited to use vehicles already registered in Latvia, go on foot or use public transport services, respecting the law and road traffic rules, says the minister of transport.
The ministry’s proposed changes for the legal framework are based on the explanation from the European Commission, which indicates that the sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia last year also apply to Russian residents’ personal vehicles with Russian registration, so citizens of the respective country with their vehicles may not stay in the EU territory.
The European Commission notes proper and balanced implementation of sanctions is every country’s own competence.
The changes planned in Latvia would introduce the same ban for vehicles registered in Belarus because the EU has also imposed sanctions against this country alongside Russia.
As of the 12th of September vehicles bearing Russian registration plates are prohibited from entering the EU through Latvian-Russian and Latvian Belarusian border checkpoints.
Until now there was an EU-wide ban for Russian cargo vehicles. This ban, however, does not apply to cargo vehicles carrying freight to Kaliningrad through Europe.
From now on, vehicles registered in Russia are not allowed to enter the EU through Latvian border checkpoints. People travelling in such vehicles will be asked to turn back to Russia or Belarus, depending on which of the two countries they are attempting to enter Latvia from.
If a person refuses to comply with customs officials, including the invitation to return to their country of origin, customs officers will be authorised to confiscate the vehicle.
Latvian legislative acts provide criminal liability for non-compliance with sanctions.
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