Numbers Reveal Illegal

Russian Licence Plates


RussianRussian vehicle plates feature only Cyrillic letters that are concurrently present in the Latin script. PHOTO: ISTOCK26 AUG - Specific numbers reveal illegal Russian licence plates, which are not recognized in the European Union, Insp. Floris De Vogel of Antwerpen local police informed.

Through reliable sources De Vogel, an international expert in license plates and vehicle registrations, found out that new registration plates are being issued to private vehicle owners in the territories of Ukraine currently occupied by Russia.


"As the European Union recognizes neither the Donetsk People's Republic, nor the Lugansk People's Republic, nor any de jure authority of Russia over any occupied Ukrainian territory, these licence plates are rendered illegal and are not a lawful means of vehicle registration in the EU. “Since Russia issues these plates to an area that is not internationally recognized as part of Russia, but is still considered Ukrainian territory, these plates are not internationally recognized for that region”, De Vogel explains.


The license plates issued in the occupied territories have the same appearance as the regular license plates in Russia proper. This makes it difficult for European police forces to recognize and identify these specific license plates on public roads in Europe“, says Insp. De Vogel. It turns out though that there are specific numbers that reveal which ones are which.


Russian license plates use a letter followed by three numbers and two more letters. To improve the readability оf Russian vehicle plates abroad only the 12 Cyrillic letters present also in Latin script are used (А, В, Е, К, М, Н, О, Р, С, T, X, У). The region code is the last part of the license plate number. (77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199 and 777 for Moscow, 78, 98 and 178 for Saint Petersburg, etc.) The combination is also specific to the status of the owner of the vehicle. A000AA is for officers and oligarchs and A000AB is for regular citizens.


According to De Vogel since August 2022 Russia has started issuing license plates for the occupied territories of Ukraine. They can be recognized by the last digits. 184 is the code for the occupied Kherson region and 185 is the code for the occupied Zaporizhzhia region. Numbers 180, 181, 188 and 194 have been reserved for any new territories to be occupied in the future, but due to lack of new Russian advances have not been assigned yet.

Insp. De Vogel has also prepared an Info Bulletin with these specifics for the awareness of European police services.