Germany warned about confiscation of personal cars from Russians upon entry

Entering a private car from Russia to Germany may be grounds for the seizure of the car, said the customs of Germany.

“The importation of passenger cars from Russia into the EU is prohibited under Article 3i of Regulation 833/2014, which defines the embargo against Russia. In this context, the expression “import” actually covers any movement of goods”, a representative of the Central Reference Office of the General Directorate of Customs of the Federal Republic of Germany explained to RBC. He separately emphasized that the embargo does not provide for exceptions for personal cars.

The aforementioned article 3i in the English version prohibits “the purchase, import or transfer, directly or indirectly, of goods that generate substantial revenue for Russia” under list XXI, if they are of Russian origin or exported from Russia.

List XXI includes passenger cars (customs nomenclature code 8703), as well as shoes, laptops and cell phones, etc.

The German translation uses the term Einfuhr, which means simple import, as opposed to customs import. According to EU rules, each country of the association can independently interpret and implement pan-European sanctions.

Earlier, Russians in Germany began to complain about the arrest of personal cars. One of them, Ivan Koval, told about the seizure of his car on June 1 near his home in Hamburg. The customs officer checked the documents and admitted that they were in order. However, according to Koval, the car was arrested anyway, because “since October 2022 the entry of cars with Russian license plates into the EU is prohibited.

“I asked what I had violated. It turned out that it was the EU regulation 833/2014. I started reading this document on the Internet – it was written that these are sanctions against Russia because of the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine. I asked: “What does this have to do with me, I’m not destabilizing anything. I was told that this applies to everyone – military, non-military, it makes no difference”, Koval said. He added that he was not given any documents about the arrest, but was only allowed to take pictures of the protocol.

The Fontanka newspaper wrote about another case of confiscation of a personal car from a Russian citizen. Sergey, a resident of St. Petersburg, with his wife and two small children, had been traveling in a car in Europe since the end of May, entering via Norway with a French Schengen visa. He traveled through Finland, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, and came to Germany.

Near Hamburg they were required to stop by German customs officials. They unloaded the Russians’ personal belongings and took the car away in a tow truck, citing sanctions. The Russian consulate could not help Sergei and his family. All help was limited to an offer to translate the documents from German customs into Russian.

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