Cars with Russian license plates will not be allowed to enter Bulgaria from tonight. This was stated by the Chief of the Bulgarian Border Police, Anton Zlatanov. Previously, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland closed their borders to Russian cars. Norway will follow tomorrow.
This measure is part of a shift in Bulgarian policy towards Russia. This summer, a new government took power, which is more inclined to support Ukraine than the previous government. Since then, Bulgaria has supplied weapons to Ukraine, although so far this has only included discarded weapons from the Bulgarian stockpile.
Zlatanov says that the number of Russian cars entering Bulgaria is modest. The main effect of this measure seems to be that the road from Russia to Serbia becomes longer. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, an estimated 200,000 Russians have moved to Serbia, where they can stay without a visa. The quickest route from Turkey and Georgia, two other countries where many Russian immigrants reside, also passes through Bulgaria. If Greece also joins the ban on the arrival of Russian cars, it will not be possible to reach Serbia by land at all.
EU member states have been allowed to impose an entry ban on cars with Russian license plates since the beginning of September, as part of European sanctions against Russia. Initially, no member state implemented the measure, until the Baltic states were the first to impose the ban on September 13. Finland, Poland and Norway, which is not an EU member but participates in European sanctions, quickly followed. As a result, all borders that Russia shares with EU member states and the Schengen Area are now closed.
Dan de Vries