Over 3,000 trucks are queuing at the Ukraine/Poland border as Ukrainian truckers face their third month of blockaded border crossings organized by a coalition of Polish transport companies and farmers.
The Poles are protesting new competition from their neighbors in the wake of the EU opening borders for Ukrainian trade following Russia’s February 2022 invasion.
“The blocking of the Rava-Ruska/Hrebenne, Krakivets/Korczowa, and Yahodyn/Dorohusk checkpoints continues,” Andriy Demchenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service told Ukrinform Tuesday.
“According to the Polish border guards, as of this morning, 1,620 trucks are queuing in these three directions towards Ukraine, most of them opposite the Yahodyn and Rava-Ruska checkpoints.”
On Christmas and New Years, Polish farmers – which, among other things, are demanding corn subsidies, additional money for liquidity of loans and keeping the agricultural tax at the current level – had temporarily unblocked the Shehyni-Medyka checkpoint, but as of Tuesday, the queue was 1,200 trucks long, Demchenko said.
Traffic at other borders isn’t blocked, however, there too, truckers they are seeing long queues because of all of the rerouted traffic.
As of Tuesday morning, 200 trucks were waiting to cross the border from Slovakia toward Ukraine at the Uzhhorod checkpoint. Some 420 trucks were waiting to cross the border from Romania towards Ukraine at the Porubne checkpoint.
Polish carriers began their blockade of truck traffic on Nov. 6 at Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne, Krakivets-Korczowa, and Yahodyn-Dorogusk – the three busiest checkpoints.
The transport companies are seeking the return of permits for Ukrainian carriers, a requirement the EU is currently waiving to June 30.
Waiting for days at the borders in freezing trucks and with limited food and water while one’s family faces the threat of Russian missiles has taken a toll on some Ukrainian truckers. Three have reportedly died waiting to cross the Polish border.
The protests are also taking their toll on the battlefield.
Drones meant for the front line are being delayed by two to three weeks, Oleksandr Zadorozhnyi, operational director of the KOLO foundation, which helps the Ukrainian army with battlefield tech, including drones and communications equipment told the AP.
“This means that the Russian army will have the ability to kill Ukrainian soldiers and terrorize civilians for several weeks longer,” he said.
On Dec. 27, newly-elected Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told a news conference that Warsaw is coming close to an agreement with the Polish protesters.
“We are close to the belief that our actions can bring results, both the talks in Kyiv and Brussels,” he said. “I do not think that we will achieve the maximum that the (Polish) truckers want, but it seems that what can be achieved will allow us to relieve emotions and relieve blockades on the border.”
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