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Poland is preparing a total blockade of the border, Ukraine has announced a protest in response. All the details

Kseniya KapustynskaNews
Poles plan to completely block the border
Poles plan to completely block the border

Polish farmers have announced a complete blockade of Ukrainian transportation starting February 20. From that date on, the Poles threaten to block not only all border crossings between the two countries, but also access roads to rail transshipment stations and seaports. In addition, Polish carriers may resume their strike on March 1. The Cabinet of Ministers is actively negotiating to prevent this from happening, and Ukrainian carriers have been launching their own protest action since February 15.

The blockade in response was announced by Vitaliy Kotsenko, head of the public organization "Carriers of the Western Region" Vitaliy Kotsenko, the head of the public organization "Carriers of the Western Region". The protest will begin on February 15 at 9:00 a.m. at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint. It is not known how long the action will last, as it will depend on the Polish side, the organizers say.

"They (Polish carriers - Ed.) will stay here with us in their cars until our Ukrainian carriers start to move. After all, they let one car through in an hour, and it's not a Ukrainian but a Polish driver," Kotsenko said.

Earlier, representatives of the Solidarity farmers' union announced the expansion of the Polish blockade. "Not only border crossings will be blocked, but also transport hubs, access roads to railway transshipment stations and seaports," the blockade initiators said.

On February 13, Polish farmers expanded the blockade to the Korcheva-Krakovets border crossing. The protest at this checkpoint began in the middle of the day after the farmers had already blocked the Zosyn-Ustyluh, Dovhobychuv-Uhryniv, Medyka-Shehyni, Yahodyn-Dorohusk, and Hrebinne-Rava-Ruska border crossings in the morning. Thus, six checkpoints were blocked.

 

Blockade of the border with Ukraine in Poland

Solidarity notes that a full blockade will also be introduced as part of a "30-day protest" against Ukrainian agricultural products, which has been going on since February 9. "The problem with the profitability of agricultural production, processing and other industries in our country is the uncontrolled inflow of goods from Ukraine that are imported when the EU border with this country is opened," the farmers say.

According to experts, this is not true. According to Volodymyr Balin, vice president of the Association of International Road Carriers (AsMAP), the European market receives three times more Russian grain than Ukrainian. Denys Marchuk, deputy chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council, agrees.

"Everyone (Polish protesters - Ed.) complains that this is a very large amount of products. We will see where these products come from, if we honestly ask ourselves the question. In fact, these are products from Russia. Russia is the largest exporter of grain in the world today. They export about 46 million tons of wheat alone worldwide," Marchuk said during a telethon on February 14.

Carriers may return their blockade

Experts remind that the strike of Polish carriers is also not over, although it actually ended on January 17. "It is suspended until March 1. If by March 1, in some way, what will be sent by the two governments and the European Commission does not satisfy the carriers, no one is safe from the fact that they will resume the strike," Balin reminded.

The Ukrainian side is trying to avoid such a scenario. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Deputy Minister Serhiy Derkach has already held a regular meeting with his Polish counterpart Pawel Ganczar, with the participation of representatives of the customs and border services of both countries. The talks took place at the border.

Ukraine-Poland border talks

"We are working to prevent the blockade of the border by Polish carriers... Our position remains unchanged: we have to solve problems together and are open to dialogue and compromises that will not harm the interests of carriers. The border blockade is harming the economies of Ukraine, Poland and the EU... We are continuing the pilot projects at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk and NyzhankovychiMalchovice checkpoints until March 1," Derkach emphasized.

It is about the separation of loaded and empty vehicles in the e-queue system at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint, as well as the absence of the need to register empty trucks in the system at the Nyzhankovychi - Malhowice checkpoint.

"On the spot, we showed our colleagues that the system is transparent and helps to minimize any risks of corruption. But the main thing for its operation is an uninterrupted and predictable number of trucks crossing the border. Only then will each driver be able to know exactly when they will cross the border. Under the blockade organized by Polish farmers, no carrier can plan its activities, and the Ukrainian economy continues to suffer losses," Derkach summarized.

Who is behind the blockade of Ukraine's border

The Polish protests were not without a Russian trace. The scandalous protest was organized by a representative of the fringe party Confederation. The party, among other things, opposes European values, supports Poland's withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and active cooperation with Russia.

During the protests on February 11, Polish strikers threw grain from several Ukrainian trucks onto the road. This action, like many previous ones, was organized by Rafał Mekler, one of the inspirers of the protests, the owner of a logistics company that cooperated with Russia, and the leader of the Lublin-based organization Confederations.

It is worth noting that farmers are not only on strike in Poland. Protests are also taking place in Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain. Russian propaganda and the Polish far-right are trying to portray all these protests as anti-Ukrainian, but this is not the case. In fact, the reasons for the strikes are different - in some places, farmers are outraged by rising fuel or fertilizer prices (France), in others by the abolition of benefits (Germany), some are really against imports (Slovakia), but not only Ukrainian, but even from other EU countries.

As OBOZ.UA reported earlier, the Chełm District Prosecutor's Office in Poland opened a case on the fact of damage to Ukrainian grain during protests at the border. The investigation is being conducted under two articles at once, and the perpetrators face up to 5 years in prison.

At the same time, Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Sekerski apologized for the damage to Ukrainian grain during the farmers' strike at the border. However, the Polish politician blamed part of the blame for the protesters' actions on the Ukrainian authorities, their "too harsh statements" and "excessive emotionality," and called the deliberate destruction of grain an "act of desperation."

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