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Border Guard: 600 trucks in line at Slovakia-Ukraine border ahead of blockade

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 1, 2023 1:09 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian truck driver Vasil Galagovec (62) walks past his snow-covered truck that has been standing in a long line of vehicles for over 10 days now near Bidovce, Slovakia on Nov. 28, 2023. (Robert Nemeti/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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As of the morning of Dec. 1, around 600 trucks remain in line at the Vysne Nemecke crossing on Slovakia's border with Ukraine, State Border Guard Service spokesperson Andrii Demchenko said on national television.

Slovakia's Union of Carriers (UNAS) is expected to start its blockade of the border crossing at 4 p.m. Kyiv time following the example of Polish truckers who have been blocking Poland's border with Ukraine for almost a month.

According to Demchenko, Slovakian haulers promised to let through about four trucks per hour during the blockade. The Vysne Nemecke crossing, opposite the Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod, is the only checkpoint for truckers moving between the two countries.

Tensions between Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine have risen after Polish truckers and farmers started a blockade of some of the busiest border checkpoints with Ukraine.

Some of that traffic has been diverted through Slovakia and Hungary, causing major traffic hiccups. About 1,000 trucks are waiting to cross the Chop (Tisa) - Zachon border crossing from Hungary to Ukraine, Demchenko said on TV.

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Polish truckers complain that the high number of Ukrainian drivers entering Poland are hauling goods from Poland to other countries, undercutting local businesses that cannot match cheaper Ukrainian prices.

Ukrainian officials and industry representatives deny the accusations. The EU has warned the Polish government to ensure the end of the blockade.

Four border crossings linking Ukraine to Poland are now blocked in total, and over 2,000 truckers are stuck in increasingly worsening humanitarian conditions.

Local media reported that two Ukrainian drivers, aged 54 and 56, died while waiting at the border.

The traffic flow at Dorohusk-Yahodyn, Ukraine's largest cargo crossing, was around 1,200 trucks per day in both directions before the blockade started on Nov. 6. It is now down to 120-140 every 24 hours, according to Demchenko.

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