EU sanctions also apply for private cars: countries react

Following a clarification by the EU Commission that the ban on importing Russian cars under the sanctions against Russia also applies when such vehicles are imported for personal use rather than for sale, several states including Finland and the Baltic countries have banned the entry of vehicles with Russian licence plates. Commentators debate the merits of the move.

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Hämeen Sanomat (FI) /

Broad approval

Hämeen Sanomat welcomes the ban:

“The fighting in Ukraine has consequences, and ordinary Russians must feel them in their daily lives. Now the consequences for ordinary people are at an acceptable but noticeable level, and also at a level that Finns can easily accept, even if the decisions also mean disadvantages for them. The ban on the import of passenger cars was accepted as a simple announcement because such decisions meet with broad approval among Finns.”

Delfi (LT) /

Take the true war beneficiaries to task

Writing in Delfi, journalist Liudas Dapkus sees the ban as purely cosmetic:

“A Russian who has been humiliated at the border will not direct his anger at Vladimir Putin, he'll only hate those on the other side of the border even more. The rich, lazy Westerners. Of course, you and I won't give a fig, but it should be clear that such actions won't stop the Russians. But then, what can? First of all, some of the rich Europeans should have decided by now what is more important to them: Ukraine's victory or profit. Then they could try to persuade the shareholders to give up a small part of the profits that this cynical outbreak of organised violence, which is drowning Ukraine in rivers of blood, is bringing to everyone around them.”

Tvnet (LV) /

Why not impound the cars already in the country?

Journalist Toms Lūsis of Tvnet is pleased with the decision but critical of the fact that Latvia doesn't want to take action against the cars already in the country:

“At last something positive has come up in the news. ... But while Lithuania and Estonia are considering impounding Russian cars already on their territory, this idea is not even being talked about in our country for now. ... There is no place for Russian cars in Latvia. If the so-called 'good Russians' have come with such cars, they should re-register them here. This is entirely possible.”