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Ambassador: Some compromises found with Polish side on border blockade

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 4, 2023 9:12 AM 3 min read
Trucks stand in line in Medyka, Poland, amid an ongoing blockade by Polish truckers on Nov. 23, 2023. (Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Kyiv and Warsaw reached some compromises during ongoing talks regarding the Ukrainian-Polish border blockade, Ukraine's Ambassador to Poland Vasyl Zvarych said in a comment for Ukrinform on Dec. 4.

Polish truckers started blocking the movement of trucks at three border crossing points on Nov. 6 in protest of the liberalization of EU transport rules for Ukrainian trucks. Four checkpoints have been blocked so far, resulting in huge lines on both sides.

Ukrainian authorities are doing everything in their power to unblock the border and restore the movement of traffic, the ambassador said.

Ukraine continues negotiations with the Polish government, and some points of contact have been found, Zvarych commented.

"And we really hope that these proposals, which we worked out together with the Polish government, will be enough for the protesters to stop the protest."

According to the senior diplomat, "there is no reason to continue protests to restrict traffic at the border."

Following a Dec. 1 meeting between Polish and Ukrainian representatives, the two parties agreed to open a crossing point for empty trucks at the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv border crossing, create separate electronic passes for empty vehicles at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk and Krakivets-Korczowa crossing points and launch a pilot electronic queueing system.

On the following day, the Polish government said that it would tighten controls on Ukrainian trucks crossing the Polish border, which was one of the demands of Poland's protesting haulers.

Restoring permit requirements for Ukrainian truckers – one of the key demands of Polish protesters –  is not an issue that needs to be addressed at the moment, Zvarych believes. He added that this matter is within the competency of the EU and should be discussed together with Brussels.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said earlier that his government would seek to restore the permits.

"As long as Russian aggression is ongoing, we cannot return these permits, as this will hit Ukraine's economy even harder," Zvarych commented, pointing out the economic toll the blockade has already taken on Ukraine.

The ambassador voiced hope that the proposals worked out between the two governments would be accepted by the protesters.

Negotiations are further complicated by the instability of the current Polish government. Morawiecki's cabinet is expected to lose the parliament's vote of confidence next week and is likely to be replaced by a government made up of opposition parties under the leadership of Donald Tusk.

Tusk has criticized the "inaction" of the current government and called for the restoration of friendly relations with Ukraine while also keeping Polish interests in mind.

Trucker protests: Unraveling the standoff between Polish and Ukrainian haulers
As Polish protests blocking three major Poland-Ukraine border crossings stretch into their third week, negotiations to bring an end to the blockade have all but failed. Exhausted drivers are stuck in massive lines on both sides of the border, with expected waiting times reaching over one month at t…

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