Skip to content

Controls of sanctions against Russia reveal more than 27 000 possibly exceptional consignments - over 660 consignments under preliminary investigation

Publication date 24.10.2023 12.29
Press release

Enforcement of sanctions is based on uniform controls at EU level, on allocation of controls according to data-derived analysis, and on proactive measures in preventing circumventions of sanctions. Finnish Customs has observed over 27 000 possibly uncommon transports of goods, and started more than 660 preliminary investigations into breaches against EU sanctions against Russia.

The war in Ukraine has continued for one year and eight months. During this time, the European Union has initiated 11 sanctions packages against Russia due to the war of attack in Ukraine. The list of sanctioned products is long, and has been extended and specified along with each new package of sanctions. The latest sanctions package that took effect in midsummer was aimed especially at circumventions of sanctions.

Since February 2022, Customs has done the following:

  • based on customs declarations, Customs has observed more than 27 000 possibly uncommon transports of goods
  • Customs has carried out targeted controls on about 2 500 transports
  • Customs has started preliminary investigations into more than 660 cases, 60 of which are investigated as aggravated regulation offences.

Customs controls all products under sanctions. In recent months through controls of sanctions, Customs has prevented attempted exports to Russia of for example high-technology products, computers, electronic devices and phones, cars and spare parts of cars, tools, luxury products, water scooters and drones.

– Practically speaking, all controls we conduct on our eastern border involve sanctions. Since the beginning, we have enforced the sanctions imposed by the EU in a strict manner, and have proactively strived to identify and point out possible discrepancies that might affect the efficient implementation of sanctions, for example as concerns circumventions. Businesses should now pay special attention to not getting involved in trade relations or logistics solutions with parties attempting to circumvent sanctions, says Mr Sami Rakshit, Director of the Enforcement Department of Finnish Customs.

Investigations into regulation offences involving sanctions place a considerable workload on Customs. In the past, there were only a few preliminary investigations each year into regulation offences.

EU Border States conduct intense cooperation in preventing circumventions of sanctions

– As concerns enforcement of sanctions, we have conducted cooperation with the customs administrations of the other EU Border States right from the start. The impact of sanctions has increased due to specifications of sanctioned goods categories and extended transit bans. However, we must keep a continuous eye on any potential shortcomings for ensuring the best possible means of intervening in circumventions of sanctions. This is where the cooperation between the customs administrations of the Border States is of key importance, says Sami Rakshit.

Representatives of the foreign affairs ministries and customs administrations of the Border States convened in Vilnius, Lithuania yesterday on 23 October for a meeting that focused on uniform controls of sanctions.

Moreover, close development of joint EU-level crime intelligence and risk analysis is essential for enforcing sanctions efficiently. Finnish Customs cooperates closely in the matter with other EU Member States, the Commission and EU law enforcement authorities such as Europol, OLAF and Frontex.

Press release by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (23 October 2023): Uniform sanctions implementation at the core of the 2nd Border States’ meeting in Vilnius

Media release