Trucks line up on the road in Przemyśl, southeastern Poland on November 08, 2023, waiting to cross the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing in Medica.
More than 20,000 trucks from Poland and Ukraine Striking Polish drivers blocked three main border crossings as they protested an EU deal allowing Ukrainian trucks unrestricted access.
On Monday, Polish carriers began blocking the movement of trucks at three major border crossing points between the two countries: Korsova-Krakowic, Hrebenne-Rava-Ruska and Dorohusk-Yahodin, Ukrainian state media Ukrinform reported.
Currently more than 20,000 vehicles are parked on both sides. “Not only the economy of Ukraine or Poland, but also the economy of other countries that cannot transport goods,” Ukraine’s Reconstruction Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, truck drivers from Ukraine have been exempted from getting permission to cross the Polish border, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Polish drivers claim that Russian and Belarusian companies are setting up Polish outfits, According to Reuters.
The strikes follow a dispute between the neighbors earlier this year over cheap Ukrainian grain, which is normally shipped out of the country. Now occupied Black Sea portsInstead it flowed into Europe via Poland.
The arrival of the products decimated Polish farmers, leading to a now-expired temporary EU ban. Poland does not allow Ukrainian grain to be sold on its domestic market.
Poland’s support for Ukraine’s war effort is essential; Since February 2022, millions of displaced people have left Ukraine for Poland, and NATO military equipment worth billions has rushed through Polish territory.
But fatigue is building in Poland and sympathy is waning — something that was evident during the country. Recent elections Right-wing parties tried to capitalize on anti-Ukrainian sentiment in the campaign.
The International Transport Association of Ukraine said the Poles were not satisfied with the high level of competition that has emerged after the liberalization of international transport between Ukraine and EU countries. Therefore, Ukrinform noted that one of the demands is to cancel visa-free transit.
Serhii Derkach, deputy minister of Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, told Ukrinform that the request was “impossible to fulfill.”
“It is not possible to cancel the agreement on the liberalization of transport, because it is a matter of bilateral agreements between the EU and Ukraine. And Poland cannot do anything unilaterally,” he said.
On Monday, Ukraine’s ambassador to Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, called Ukraine a “stab in the back” that has seen transportation routes, including airspace and ports, severely limited since the invasion began.
According to Ukrainian national broadcaster Zaspilne, organizers of the protest said they planned to send one truck through the border per hour.
Saspilne noted that the protesters did not plan to block the movement of trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Ukraine, saying they had permission to picket until January 3.
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