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13 Jan, 2024 06:33

Ukraine conflict prompts decline in stolen cars in Russia

Thieves used to sell their illicitly obtained vehicles in Ukraine and the Baltic countries before borders closed, an insurance lobby says
Ukraine conflict prompts decline in stolen cars in Russia

The number of car thefts in Russia dropped sharply in 2023, largely due to the Ukraine conflict, the business daily Kommersant reported on this week, citing data from the Internal Affairs Ministry and the Russian Union of Insurers.

According to the report, over January-November of last year, some 6,580 vehicle thefts were recorded in the country, a 22.9% drop against 2022. While the total number of car thefts has been dropping for several years, experts noted that the decline was especially significant in 2023.

The Ukraine conflict and the subsequent closure of borders was the main reason for the decline, Sergey Efremov, deputy head of the Russian Union of Insurers, told the news outlet. According to Efremov, stolen cars had previously largely been sent to Ukraine and the Baltic countries to be sold there. After the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, however, Russia’s borders with these countries were closed, thus depriving thieves' access to their preferred outlet markets.

Vitaly Knyaginichev, head of the retail business department at the insurance agency Ingosstrakh, voiced a similar opinion.

There may be several reasons, including improved work by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, new anti-theft systems, and also the difficulties with crossing borders, because most of the stolen vehicles used to be exported outside Russia,” he told the news outlet, noting that the number of thefts in the company’s portfolio had halved over the past year.

Insurers note that the recent increase in the number of surveillance cameras across the country had also affected the car-theft statistics.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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