Ian Brodie with Reuters

The European Union has introduced an import ban on a number of personal items originating in Russia as an extension of sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Oddly, the European Commission said that the ban was temporary, unless it meant only until the end of hostilities. Included in the prohibited list are cars, make-up, toothpaste, deodorants, toilet paper and mobile phones.

Russian officials have reacted angrily. Former president and leading hawk Dmitry Medvedev said the directive from the 27-nation bloc spat in the face of all Russians, who were being treated as “half-animals with bad heredity”.

“It’s just racism,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said of the Commission’s directive. “This is racism pure and simple.”

In a question and answer sheet, the European Commission asked: “Can Russian nationals temporarily bring personal goods and vehicles listed in Annex XXI and subject to the prohibition in Art. 3i of Council Regulation 833/2014 into the Union, e.g. for touristic travels?”

“No. Article 3i of Council Regulation 833/2014 prohibits the purchase, import, or transfer, directly or indirectly, of goods as listed in Annex XXI to the Regulation if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia. This includes motor vehicles (cars) falling under CN code 8703.”

Asked about the implementation of the rules, a Commission spokesperson said clothes worn by someone crossing a border were unlikely to be aimed at circumventing sanctions. So clothes are exempt.

“That is a different situation to an expensive car,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

Some Russians say the West has at times played into the hands of the Kremlin by appearing to cast all Russian citizens as enemies who should be punished and ostracised for a war over which they have no say.

The Kremlin says Russians are being illegally discriminated against in the West amid a wave of Russophobia.

Although Monaco is not a member of the European Union, all gateways to the Principality lie in EU countries.

FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, April 4, 2023. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov