Polish farmers resumed the Medyka border crossing blockade at 9:00 a.m. today in a bid to pressure the Polish government into formally signing a guarantee to fulfill their demands to curb Ukrainian agricultural competition.
The blockade, which started on Nov. 23 following similar protests from Polish truckers, was temporarily stopped on Dec. 24 after Polish and Ukrainian officials agreed on a “compromise solution.” The renewed blockade will last until Feb. 3 unless demands are met.
The Medyka-Shehyni crossing is one of the major border crossings between the two nations. However, the blockade does not affect cars and buses, as well as trucks carrying humanitarian cargo and perishable goods.
Under the blockade, only three trucks are allowed to cross per hour.
Protest leader Roman Kondrow called for a “written confirmation” that their demands would be met following Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski's earlier agreement to implement appropriate measures.
Kondrow cited excessive competition from Ukraine after the EU’s decision to ease Ukrainian import following Russia’s full-scale invasion and the need to protect local interests as the reasons behind the series of protests.
“We pay taxes here, repair roads, and your carriers use it. We protect our local market and take care of our farmers; our constitution gives us this right. We can protest wherever we want,” said Kondrow, according to a report in the Ukrainian media site Suspilny.
Kondrow’s comments echoed that of similar ongoing blockades by Polish truckers, who said the cancellation of the permit system following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to an influx of Ukrainian competition.
Since Nov. 6, Polish truckers have been blocking the Krakovets-Korczowa, Yahodyn-Dorohusk and Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne checkpoints in protest, where thousands of trucks sit waiting as queues stretching for miles formed on the border.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he aimed to find a solution to lift the blockade while protecting the interests of local truckers.
“I will try to convince carriers not to use blockades as a method of defending their interests. We will do everything to effectively protect their interests,” he said.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter