EU country donates confiscated vehicles to Ukraine
The Latvian government has donated eight cars to Ukraine, after seizing them from drunk drivers, the Baltijas Balss news website reported on Tuesday. This follows parliament’s passing of a law allowing the EU country to donate state-impounded cars to Kiev.
Latvian Finance Minister Arvils Aseradens announced the first shipment on Tuesday on Twitter, saying it only took about a month from conception to realization. The vehicles will be given to Ukrainian Interior Ministry forces, Vinnytsia Regional Hospital, and the Kupyansk Territorial Medical Association.
Latvia’s Agendum movement, which gathers donations for Kiev, will organize delivery of the vehicles to the Ukrainian authorities. The group’s leader, Reinis Poznaks, wrote in a tweet on Wednesday that the cars will “redeem their alcoholic and ideological karma,” posting a picture of a car with a small Russian flag inside.
The Latvian parliament made the legal change allowing the handover in February. Lawmaker Raimonds Bergmanis promoted the measure, which gathered broad support from all the other MPs. He argued that instead of selling or scrapping confiscated vehicles, “they would be a useful support for the people of Ukraine.”
The law allowing the state to seize cars from drunk drivers was implemented in December. The vehicles are confiscated on a case-by-case basis, and the previous owners can buy them back at the market price.
Police chief Armands Ruks told Latvian TV in February that inebriated drivers were still detained every day, but that the campaign was having a positive impact. When asked whether confiscating drunk drivers’ cars would improve road safety, he said it’s too early to draw conclusions.