Finland has seized nearly 1,000 freight cars belonging to Russian companies as a result of European Union sanctions, according to Finnish state rail operator VR and a letter from Russia’s rail monopoly seen by Reuters.
As Finland’s VR took steps to reduce rail traffic with Russia after the EU sanctioned Russian coal supplies in April, 865 train cars from Russia were seized by bailiffs, according to the June 6 letter from the Railways Russia to the Ministry of Transport.
Finland’s bailiffs authority told Reuters it had frozen the assets of several dozen individuals and legal entities in Russia and Belarus, including transport firms, worth at least 82 million euros, to comply with EU sanctions.
VR spokeswoman Taina Kuitunen confirmed by email that there are currently “about 800 units of (freight) wagons sanctioned in Finland” in Finland, and the company has tried to return the unsanctioned ones to Russia asap.
A result of European Union sanctions
VR’s head of logistics told Finnish media in March that around 5,000 Russian wagons were in Finland when it decided to suspend traffic, and although his company wanted to send them back, bailiffs ordered some to be confiscated.
The seized wagons belong to companies either directly affected by EU sanctions or whose shareholders relinquished control because they were hit by sanctions after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in late February.
Uralchem-Trans, whose former owner Dmitri Mazepin ceded control after falling under EU sanctions in March, did not respond to a request for comment, and state-owned leasing company GTLK, also under sanctions The EU refused to comment, writes Mediafax.
Rusagrotrans, part of Demetra Holding, where sanctions-hit state bank VTB ceded control to other investors in February, also declined to comment.
Russian Railways declined to comment, and the Transport Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.