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Lithuania: Cars registered in Russia must leave Lithuania by 11 March or will be confiscated

Lithuanian Customs sets a deadline of 11 March, for cars with Russian registration to exit Lithuania and the EU or face penalties including confiscation of vehicles, following EU sanctions. Exceptions exist for Russian citizens transiting to/from Kaliningrad.
Latvia will ban cars registered in Russia and Belarus
Russian number plate on a car. Illustrative photo: open sources
Lithuania: Cars registered in Russia must leave Lithuania by 11 March or will be confiscated

Lithuanian Customs has issued a directive requiring cars registered in Russia to leave Lithuania and all EU territory by 11 March 2024, according to a statement published on the website of the Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania. Failure to comply will result in penalties under the Administrative Offenses Code, including fines and confiscation of vehicles.

Lithuania, along with its Baltic neighbors Estonia and Latvia, staunchly supports Ukraine, providing substantial military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv and advocating for Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO. The Baltic states fear Russia’s aggression in Ukraine could signal future threats to their own sovereignty.

“According to Lithuanian Customs, there are still cars with Russian registration operating in Lithuania. They must either register their vehicles in Lithuania or leave the EU by March 11. From March 11 onwards, individuals with cars bearing Russian registration numbers will be considered in violation of the law and will be subject to penalties, as provided for in Article 515 of the Administrative Offenses Code, which includes fines and confiscation of vehicles,” the statement reads.

The customs agency says Lithuania is implementing the sanctions requirements specified in Article 3 of European Council Regulation No. 833/2014, which allowed cars that entered the EU before December 19, 2023, to be registered in the EU, while starting from 11 March 2024, cars registered in Russia cannot stay in Lithuania unless they are re-registered through the import process and registered with the Lithuanian Road Traffic Safety Directorate.

An exception applies to Russian Federation citizens transiting through Lithuania to or from the Kaliningrad region with a simplified transit document (STD). Such transit through Lithuanian territory cannot exceed 24 hours, and the vehicle owner must be present during transit. Vehicles without the owner present will not be allowed to enter Lithuanian territory.

In 2023, Lithuania’s neighbor Latvia reportedly transferred 271 vehicles to Ukraine, confiscated from intoxicated Latvian drivers, valued at over 900,000 euros, and was planning to donate an additional 34 vehicles worth approximately €160,000 at the end of the year.

In September 2023, the Latvian government, planned to introduce a similar bill banning cars with Russian and Belarusian license plates, giving owners three months to re-register or remove them from Latvia under penalty of fines and potential confiscation for the Ukrainian army.

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