The EU Commission decided in September that cars registered in Russia could no longer enter the EU. This decision made it significantly more challenging for Russians to cross borders into countries like Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria or Estonia.
Bulgaria has announced that it will prohibit the entry of Russian cars into its territory by the end of the day on October 2. Anton Zlatanov, Director of the Bulgarian Border Police, confirmed the decision during an appearance on Bulgarian National TV according to European Pravda.
This move follows a similar ban that has been in effect for Russian trucks for several months. While Zlatanov did not specify the number of Russian cars that enter Bulgaria each month, he emphasized that the number is not significant.
The decision comes in the wake of clarifications from the European Commission on long-standing restrictions on the import and export of goods to or from Russia.
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria and Estonia have preemptively instituted bans on Russian automobiles.
Norway, not being a part of the EU, also shares a border with Russia. The 196-kilometer stretch could easily be exploited by Russian drivers to enter Finland, as border control between the two Nordic countries is not particularly strict due to their inclusion in the Schengen Area.
However, Norway put an end to this loophole earlier in the week by aligning its decision with the rest of the EU.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, described the ban imposed by several European countries on Russian-registered cars entering their territories as a manifestation of Nazism. Lavrov also expressed astonishment at how representatives of European countries have “lost their sense of decency.”
Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, echoed Lavrov’s sentiments, stating that the car ban could only be viewed as a form of “Nazism against Russians.”
She also warned that the actions of the mentioned EU countries would not go without a proper response.
The Norwegian government has stated that the ban contains several exceptions, including diplomatic vehicles, cars owned by Norwegian citizens or their families with permanent residence in Russia, and urgent trips like funerals.
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