WARSAW, Poland – In a significant move reflecting the ongoing tensions between the European Union and Russia, Poland commenced the enforcement of a European Union ban on all Russian-registered passenger cars attempting to enter the country. This prohibition, which took effect on Sunday, marks the latest in a series of sanctions imposed on Russia as a response to its continued involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
Under the directive issued by the European Union, motor vehicles registered in the Russian Federation are now prohibited from entering the territory of the 27-member bloc. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski made the official announcement on Saturday, emphasizing the necessity of the ban in light of Russia's actions in Ukraine.
"A car registered in Russia has no right to enter Poland," Minister Kaminski declared, as the ban was enacted at midnight. "This is another element of the sanctions imposed on Russia and its citizens in connection with the brutal war in Ukraine, due to the fact that the Russian state today constitutes a threat to international security."
Poland's decision to implement this ban follows closely on the heels of similar actions taken by the neighboring Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. These countries jointly opted to prohibit vehicles bearing Russian license plates from entering their territories, aligning themselves with the recent interpretation of the EU's sanctions against Moscow.
Poland, alongside the Baltic states, has consistently been among the most vocal European critics of Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin. The move is expected to exacerbate tensions between Poland and Russia further.
Responding to the EU's actions, Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, denounced the European Commission’s decision as "racist." Medvedev also hinted at potential retaliatory measures, including the suspension of diplomatic ties with the EU and the recall of Russian diplomats from Brussels.
Poland shares a land border with Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad, which is geographically separated from the Russian mainland. Regardless of which border Russian-tagged vehicles seek to cross, the Polish Border Guard agency has confirmed that the ban will be enforced consistently.
In addition to Kaliningrad, Poland's eastern borders are shared with Belarus and Ukraine, two countries deeply impacted by the ongoing conflict. On its other borders, Poland enjoys proximity to EU and NATO allies, including Germany, Slovakia, Czechia, and Lithuania, where border checks are not in place.
The Border Guard's official website has outlined the enforcement measures, stating that Russian-registered cars attempting to enter Poland "will be returned to the non-EU country from which they came, regardless of whether it is Russia or another country. Such actions will be carried out even if the driver of the car is not a citizen of the Russian Federation."