Slovaks join blockade of Ukraine's border: carriers resort to blackmail in support of Polish far-right

Kseniya KapustynskaNews
Slovaks temporarily blocked the border with Ukraine
Slovaks temporarily block the border with Ukraine

On November 16, a protest took place on the border of Slovakia and Ukraine, with participants blocking the Vysne Nemecke-Uzhhorod checkpoint to enter Ukraine. The Slovak carriers made the same discriminatory demands as their Polish far-right counterparts.

The action was organized by the Union of Road Carriers of Slovakia (UNAS). From 13:00 to 14:00, they temporarily blocked the road to the checkpoint to "express solidarity" with Polish carriers, TASR writes.

UNAS itself says that today's protest was a "warning". The carriers demand to cancel the "transport visa-free regime" for Ukraine, which contradicts the agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Representatives of the Slovak association threaten to organize a large-scale strike if their demands are not met.

Blockade of the border between Slovakia and Ukraine on November 16

"We are closing (the checkpoint - Ed.) for an hour as a warning. Our goal is to support our Polish colleagues, as well as all carriers within the EU. We will ask the European Commission to immediately introduce permits for the transportation of Ukrainian vehicles," said Stanislav Skala, head of UNAS.

The Ministry of Transport of Slovakia, by the way, has already agreed to assist UNAS. "In early December, the EU Council of Ministers will be held in Brussels, where the Slovak Minister of Transport will propose to reconsider this decision (to cancel the issuance of commercial permits to Ukrainian carriers - Ed.) The massive increase in the number of transportation through the EU by Ukrainian carriers is at the expense of European carriers," the Slovak ministry said.

Earlier, Mustafa Nayem, head of the State Agency for the Restoration and Development of Infrastructure of Ukraine, explained that Ukraine would not agree to return the system of permits for freight transportation. "Ukraine does not even intend to discuss a return to the permit system. The agreement on freight liberalization was ratified and agreed by all EU members and signed between the European Union and Ukraine, not by any individual country," Nayyem said.

Thus, Polish and Slovak carriers are demanding the return of the system that was in effect until June 2022. Back then, every Ukrainian carrier heading to the EU had to obtain permission to cross the border of a particular country. During a full-scale war, logistics across Ukraine's western borders has become critically important, and the abolition of the "transport visa-free regime" is simply impossible.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, on November 6, the border of Ukraine from Poland was blocked by the Polish far right. As a result, thousands of trucks are idle at the border. Imported products cannot be brought into Ukraine, and exports cannot be taken out of Ukraine.

At the same time, Ukrainian carriers claim that only one association of Polish carriers, which had previously worked actively with Russia, supported the blockade of the border. Polish politician Raphael Mekler took over the political representation. His party has a small representation in the Sejm, and he represents the far right: they are against Poland's integration into the EU and in favor of limiting ties with Ukraine. However, the far-right does not have much support in Poland (they have only 6 seats out of 460 in the parliament).

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