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Humanitarian aid, food and fuel are not allowed in: the situation on the Ukraine-Poland border is becoming critical. All details

Volodymyr PaziyNews
Blocking of Ukraine's border by Poles intensifies
Blocking of Ukraine's border by Poles intensifies

Poles continue to block 6 of the 9 checkpoints on the border with Ukraine. At the largest checkpoint, Yagodyn-Dorohusk, the movement of freight transport has completely stopped. And starting February 20, farmers want to block not only car traffic but also railroad traffic and access to seaports along the entire border. At the same time, the State Border Guard Service has not received any official notifications from Polish border guards.

As of February 19, the most critical situation is at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint, according to the Ukravtoprom association. "Humanitarian and perishable goods and fuel are not allowed in. This has a direct impact on our defense capability. In addition, empty trucks carrying critical goods cannot leave Ukraine through this checkpoint," the statement said.

According to the Polish farmers, the full blockade of the border is scheduled for February 20. However, according to a February 19 TV marathon broadcast by State Border Guard Service spokesman Andrii Demchenko, neither the protesters nor Polish customs formally notified Ukraine of the expansion of the protests.

Last week, Polish farmers expanded the blockade to the Korczowa-Krakowiec checkpoint. Currently, a total of six checkpoints are blocked: Korczowa-Krakowiec, Zosin-Ustyluh, Uhryniv-Dołhobyczow, Medyka-Shehyni, Yahodyn-Dorohusk and Hrebenne-Rawa Ruska.

"It should be borne in mind that there are 9 directions on the border with Poland, 6 of which are currently blocked or where traffic is significantly hampered for trucks. Moreover, among these six, 4 are the largest checkpoints through which trucks weighing more than 7.5 tons can cross the border," he said.

In addition, according to Demchenko, the three remaining directions have their own peculiarities. "In some places, empty trucks weighing more than 7.5 tons can cross the border, while other directions are for the movement of smaller trucks in both directions," the speaker stated.

Why are the Poles blocking the border?

The main reason for farmers' protests across Europe is dissatisfaction with the Green Deal. These are the rules that oblige all farmers in the EU to gradually abandon pesticides and fertilizers that are harmful to the environment, as well as to comply with strict requirements and gradually switch to the production of "healthy" products.

However, the Poles decided to deal with the supply from Ukraine. That is why they plan to end the protests against the Green Deal inside Poland on February 19 and to close the borders with Ukraine on February 20. On the border with Ukraine, they will demand "an end to uncontrolled imports of agricultural products from Ukraine" and the abolition of the Green Deal.

Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with the EU's Green Deal (these rules will apply to us after we become a member). The claims about "uncontrolled exports of agricultural products" are also questionable. In fact, most grain transits through Poland, Iryna Kosse, an infrastructure expert, explained to OBOZ.UA.

The Poles are unhappy that Ukrainian grain is much cheaper than Polish one. Farmers in Ukraine do not have to adhere to strict "green" standards, work on large areas with more fertile land, as well as pay salaries that are several times lower than in Poland. All this seems to make Polish products more expensive: they cannot compete with Ukraine.

"Ukrainian farmers will always find understanding with Polish farmers, it's Polish lobbyists who can't reach an agreement with Ukrainian farmers," Mykola Stryzhak, president of the Association of Farmers and Private Landowners of Ukraine says. According to him, the "corridor" for Ukrainian agricultural products through Poland existed primarily to enable Ukrainian farmers to export goods to countries that need them, together with their Polish counterparts.

The representative of Ukrainian farmers partially agrees with his Polish colleagues. Indeed, cheap Ukrainian grain, the price of which is already approaching the cost of production, is more attractive to buyers. However, they certainly cannot affect the situation with Polish prices.

The information about "uncontrolled imports" is a manipulation used by Polish politicians. Like any other country, Poland has its own groups of Eurosceptics who would be happy to lead protests against the EU's "green rules," and there are those who have ties to Russia and are ready to destabilize relations with Ukraine.

What are the consequences of a complete blockade of the border?

According to Kosse, the situation will affect both Ukraine and Poland. However, Ukrainian exporters will suffer the most. "We will lose, and Ukraine will lose more," the expert said.

She explained that it is the railroad blockade that will cause the biggest problems. After all, when Polish carriers and farmers block only road checkpoints, Ukrainian imports suffer more than exports. Now this may change.

"A lot of imports, mostly high-value ones, are coming by truck. Most of these deliveries go through the Polish border. That's why recipients of goods from Europe suffered, waiting for medicines, equipment, and other goods," Kosse explained.

In such a situation, timber sellers were the biggest losers among exporters. However, if the railroad is blocked, these groups will be the first to suffer:

  • Mining industry. "A lot of ore is exported abroad by rail, such as iron and manganese ore," Kosse explained.
  • Production of construction materials, which are also actively exported.
  • Agricultural sector. "30-40% (of exports - Ed.) are still grain, oil, and other agro-processed products," the expert reminded.

However, not only businesses will have to pay for the blockade. In February alone, Ukraine's budget will lose UAH 7.7 billion, according to Danylo Hetmantsev (Servant of the People), chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy.

"If the border is not unblocked by the end of the month, the country's budget will lose UAH 7.7 billion in revenues," the MP said. He specified that these are revenues from customs. "This is very significant for us. Especially in February," Hetmantsev added.

As previously reported, blocking transport - in particular, buses with passengers - at the Polish border will have severe social and political consequences for both countries. Moreover, it is a direct threat to the security of the defending country.

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