Finnish Customs carried out controls of travellers at the eastern border
Customs intensified the controls of individuals travelling to Russia from 22 July to 27 July at the border crossing points of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala. A little more than 2 500 controls were carried out and of them, around 100 cases led to consideration of further measures due to sanctions.
- When Russia lifted its Covid-19 restrictions on border crossings, we needed to increase the enforcement of sanctions in passenger traffic, says Enforcement Director Mikko Grönberg about the background to the intensified controls. If goods are subject to sanctions they cannot be taken across the border. Depending on the case, the customer can return the goods to the shop where they were bought or Customs will detain them.
During the intensified control period different kinds of luxury products were carried by the travellers as well as goods that can facilitate Russia’s industrial and military capabilities, such as tools used in maritime traffic.
- Currently, approximately twenty cases related to passenger traffic are under preliminary examination by Customs or waiting for a statement from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, says Grönberg.
The preliminary examination aims to show whether there is reason to suspect a crime and if a preliminary investigation should be initiated.
The number of travellers at the border between Russia and Finland grew when Russia lifted its Covid-19 restrictions on cross-border travel on 15 July. However, the traffic volumes are no way near what they were before the restrictions. Last week, around 30 000 passengers travelled to Russia via the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala border crossing points. During the same week in 2018, there were over 80 000 travellers.
- The results from the control period show that there is reason to continue to carry out controls of persons travelling from Finland, says Grönberg.
The sanctions imposed by the EU are a central part of the EU’s joint measures
The European Union has imposed extensive sanctions against Russia and Belarus due to the attack on Ukraine. As the implementing authority, Finnish Customs’ tasks include enforcing the sanctions on imports and exports agreed at EU level.
Customs’ enforcement of sanctions focuses on the control of commercial traffic, because it has a greater impact. With passenger traffic control, Customs prevents the evasion of the sanctions imposed on Russia.
What are you allowed to bring in to Russia?
The list of prohibited products is broad and subject to constant changes. For example, you are not allowed to bring in to Russia paints or automotive lubricants, such as synthetic motor oils. The export of luxury products, such as smart devices and sporting goods are significantly restricted. There are different value limits on different kinds of luxury products. As a rule, the value limit is 300 euros.
More information on export sanctions on Customs’ website (https://tulli.fi/en/russian-attack-on-ukraine).