Latvia seizes drunk drivers' cars and gives them to Ukraine

The first batch of seized cars are loaded up to be transported to Ukraine. Credit: Latvia State Revenue Service/Facebook

The Latvian government has begun sending shipments of cars seized from drunk drivers to Ukraine.

As hundreds of vehicles fill the country's impound lots, MPs decided they would be better sent to Ukraine's military and hospitals to aid in its war effort.

The first batch of eight cars left the Latvian capital of Riga on Wednesday and are due to cross into Ukraine.

Parliament also agreed to donate state-owned cars to Ukraine, as it battles Russia's invasion.

Finance Minister Arvils Ašeradens said: "Once again, we have demonstrated our unity in our support for Ukraine. I believe that every act of support, big or small, brings us closer to victory in this senseless war."

Around 200 cars have been taken from drivers with blood alcohol levels over 0.15% in the past two months.

It comes after the Latvian government enforced stricter drink driving laws late last year - allowing for cars to be seized and sold if the driver tested three times above the legal limit.

Fifteen more cars are scheduled to be sent to Ukraine next week.

The handling of the car transfer is being led by a charity called 'TwitterConvoy', who have already sent more than 1,000 donated or bought cars across the border to Ukraine since Russia's invasion began.

Charity founder Reinis Pozņaks said: “This is important support for Ukraine, because every vehicle on the front means a life saved.

"The transfer of the vehicles approved by the government today is very good news for the five units of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, as well as for the three medical institutions for which these vehicles will be an essential support in liberating Ukraine and saving lives.”

After the scheme was given the green light back in February, Latvia's former defence minister Raimonds Bergmanis said: “Currently, the vehicles confiscated from intoxicated drivers are sold, recycled or disassembled for spare parts, however, in light of current circumstances, they could be used to support the Ukrainian people.”

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