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Russian Increase in Tariffs on Imported Cars Causes Long Tailbacks at Lithuanian Border - 27 September, 2002

Members of a special section of the Lithuanian border and coastal patrol services are to help maintain order at Lithuania's main border control points with Russia and Belarus. A statement released by the border service explained that these measures had become necessary due to the situation which has arisen at the Lithuanian-Russian and Lithuanian-Belarussian borders.

According to the border service, cars traveling via Lithuania to Russia are currently causing long tailbacks at Lithuania's borders with Russia and Belarus, with delays of up to 60 hours at one crossing to the Kaliningrad Region. At the border between Lithuania and Belarus, drivers are having to wait up to 20 hours to cross into Belarus. According to the border service, most of the cars are headed for Moscow, St. Petersburg and Minsk.

Officials from the border service claim that the main reason for the sharp increase in the number of cars traveling through Lithuania is the intention of the Russian authorities to increase customs tariffs on imported used cars. Lithuania does not exclude the possibility that the situation at the border will become even worse on October 1, the planned date for the increased tariffs to take effect.

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