The Polish-Ukrainian border was only blocked by a few vehicles: how much is Ukraine losing because of this

Oleksandr LytvynNews
Poles are blocking the Ukrainian border
Poles are blocking the Ukrainian border

Only a small number of protesters are blocking the checkpoints on the Ukrainian border with Poland. However, they cannot be calmed down, and Ukrainian businesses are losing a million hryvnias a day. That is, since the start of the strike on November 6, individual entrepreneurs alone could have lost UAH 16 million, and the total losses reached UAH 305.88 million.

These calculations were provided by the European Business Association (EBA), which surveyed entrepreneurs. "Both importers and exporters are equally affected, as 49% of companies import goods to Ukraine. At the same time, 25% of goods go to Poland, 15% to Germany, as well as to other Baltic countries, Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, and Africa," the report says.

In addition, businesses are already reporting a shortage of transportation, in part due to the reluctance of carriers to take orders during the strike. Transportation costs are rising significantly, affecting the cost of production and the price competitiveness of enterprises.

The losses of carriers are only part of Ukraine's economic losses. As Iryna Kosse, a research fellow at the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, explained to OBOZ.UA, the losses of the entire Ukrainian economy are much higher, given the failure of companies to fulfill contracts and the suspension of production. Poland also has problems, and they are proportional to those of Ukraine. "Polish businesses will also suffer losses from this blockade. And these losses may be comparable to the Ukrainian ones," the expert noted. 

The strike is only gaining momentum: as of November 22, a queue of thousands of trucks has formed at the border, and four checkpoints have been blocked: "Yahodyn-Dorohusk, Rava-Ruska-Hrebinne, Krakovets-Korchova, and Medyka-Shehyni. Ukraine plans to hold talks with Poland and the European Commission this week to unblock the Ukrainian-Polish border, where "Polish carriers" are rallying. The far-right, which organized the rally in Poland, has already announced that they want to extend the action until February 1, 2024. 

Journalist Yevhen Plinskyi showed the protesters on his Telegram channel. It turned out that only a few cars blocked the border. In fact, because of them, Ukraine's economy suffers millions in losses every day. "And now keep yourselves in check. You will now see Polish protesters and their 'checkpoint' in these images," the journalist commented.

Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka announced the upcoming talks, Reuters reports. The Poles are demanding the return of the permit system for Ukrainian carriers to cross the border, toughening transport rules within the "European Conference of Transport Ministers"; a ban on registering companies in Poland if their finances and accounting are outside the European Union; access to the Ukrainian system "Shlyakh"; allocation of a lane for empty cars; and identification of EU cars in the Ukrainian system "eChezhda".

The demands were supported by the Slovaks

On November 21, the border of Ukraine from Slovakia was again blocked by local carriers. The protest was held at the Vysne Nemecke-Uzhhorod checkpoint, where a line of hundreds of trucks immediately formed. On November 22, the protest was called off, but temporarily. Even after the unblocking, 530 trucks remained in the queue.

Slovaks are holding their own protests in support of Polish carriers. Both Polish and Slovak organizations are making unlawful demands on Ukraine. Earlier, the Slovak-Ukrainian border was blocked as a "warning". It happened on November 16 and lasted only 1 hour.

"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 the Union of Road Carriers of Slovakia (UNAS), which organizes these actions.

Exporters and importers suffer heavy losses

Ihor Kirpa, founder of the Khortytski Lini transport company, told OBOZ.UA that the Poles' actions have forced them to take a detour through other countries. Such a "trip" is quite expensive - about 1-1.5 thousand euros in additional logistics costs.

"A simple example. Khortytsia vodka used to be transported from Zaporizhzhia to Warsaw. Now 24 cars a day pass through. In Yahodyn, 4,000 cars are registered in the electronic queue for 200 days. Who needs this vodka in 200 days? So they cancel the order," he explained.

The Epicenter K group of companies told OBOZ.UA about the important role of Poland in Ukrainian imports and exports. They emphasized that many Ukrainian companies operate through Polish ports, in particular Gdansk and Gdynia. Most of the goods in Ukraine come from Polish and German ports, as well as the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

"Accordingly, the strike of local carriers and a significant decrease in the volume of vehicles crossing the border with Poland have affected the amount of goods that can be imported into Ukraine," the group of companies admitted.

The border with Ukraine is blocked by a far-right party

Ukrainian carriers say that only one association of Polish carriers, which previously actively worked with Russia, supported the blockade of the border. Polish politician Rafał Mekler took over the political representation. His party has a small representation in the Sejm and 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).

Rafał Mekler represents the far-right party Ruch Narodowy. He actively spreads Russian propaganda fakes about Ukraine and tells his voters about "Banderites." A few days after the outbreak of a full-scale war and the influx of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, he declared the "need to preserve the ethnic system."

According to Mykola Solsky, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, the situation is complicated by the specific demands of the strikers. After all, "it is difficult to find any constructive things in them." 

As reported by OBOZ.UA, due to the blockade of the border by the Polish far-right, Ukraine's economy is suffering significant losses, in particular, due to a decrease in the number of goods imported into the country. However, there is no need to talk about a critical decline in imports and an impending shortage of certain items: businesses are actively looking for alternative ways to import goods or offer Ukrainians affordable analogues.  

Only verified information is available on our Telegram channel OBOZ.UA and Viber. Do not fall for fakes!

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