ST. PETERSBURG – The freeze on customs cooperation between the Baltic countries and Russia is unlikely to have a significant impact on the work of Russian customs, first deputy head of the Northwestern Customs Department Sergei Senko said.
"I do not think it will seriously affect our activity, considering the ongoing cooperation at the EU level. There may be fewer working contacts but there will be no effect on our work whatsoever from the angle of organization of customs operations," Senko told reporters on Tuesday.
The Russian Federal Customs Service said on Monday it had received letters from Latvia and Estonia regarding the freeze on customs cooperation.
As he was summing up results of the Northwestern Customs Department's work in 2022, Senko said that the situation with truck lines on the border with EU countries had stabilized within the department's zone of responsibility.
"All is normal, stable at the checkpoints. Our customs posts are operating normally. The situation with the lines has normalized. There may be a minor concentration in the Pskov direction," he said.
Customs have taken a number of measures, including larger shifts, to achieve the stabilization, Senko said.
"We are highly attentive to the priority clearance of certain goods, such as perishable foodstuffs and medicines. We ensure their priority clearance at checkpoints," he said.
In turn, first deputy head of the Northwestern Operative Customs Pavel Terentyev summed up the law enforcement results of customs. In his words, 333 criminal cases were opened within nine months of 2022, including 41 on counts of contraband of strategic goods and resources, alongside 20,200 administrative cases. More than 270 kilograms of drugs and psychotropic substances were seized. The value of seized contraband goods exceeded 580 million rubles.
The number of violations was approximately the same last year, Terentyev said.
The Northwestern Customs Department operates on the territory of the Northwestern Federal District with the exception of the Kaliningrad region. There are more than 40 checkpoints in this area. The length of the land border with EU member states (Finland, Latvia and Estonia) and Norway exceeds 2,000 kilometers. The Northwestern Federal District also borders Belarus (a member of the Eurasian Economic Union) in the zone of operation of the Pskov customs.