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Border Guard: Romanian farmers, truckers block another crossing at Ukraine border

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 18, 2024 1:12 PM 3 min read
Romanian farmers slowly drive their tractors on the road to Bucharest in Afumati village during protests on Jan. 16, 2024. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images)
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Romanian farmers and truckers started blocking another border crossing with Ukraine as protests in Romania have continued for over a week, Ukraine's State Border Guard Service reported on Jan. 18.

Romanian farmers and truck drivers reportedly joined forces on Jan. 14, slowing traffic on major roads in protest of issues such as high tax rates, long waiting times at border crossings, and slow subsidy payments.

The farmers claimed they have lost income for almost two years due to cheaper grains being exported by Ukraine. Romania's Customs Authority reported in December that the country had not imported grain from Ukraine in the past six months.

The border crossing blocked on the morning of Jan. 18 is located in the Romanian town of Halmeu, opposite Ukraine's Diakove in Zakarpattia Oblast. Previously, the protesters blocked Siret and Vicovu de Sus checkpoints in Romania's Suceava County, which borders Ukraine's Chernivtsi Oblast.

The Border Guard Service said it didn't receive any information on why and for how long the protesters blocked the Halmeu-Diakove border crossing.

Ukraine’s grain overload sours country’s relationship with key allies
Negotiations over a European import ban on Ukrainian grain between the European Commission and its eastern flank members were stalled as of April 23. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria asked to extend protection measures after the EU’s one-year decision to abolish customs duties, whil…

There are around 600 cargo vehicles waiting to cross the border into Romania from Ukraine, Andrii Demchenko, a spokesperson for the Border Guard Service, told Ukrainska Pravda.

"There are no significant lines of cargo vehicles on the territory of Romania in the direction of Ukraine," said Demchenko.

Passage of cars and buses is carried out as usual, according to the Border Guard Service.

The Romanian Agriculture Ministry has agreed to meet several of the demands of the Romanian farmers, but one of the farmers' representatives at the negotiations explained that the agreement does not mean an immediate end to the protests, Euractiv reported on Jan. 16.

Romania plays a crucial role in helping Ukraine export its agricultural products amid Russia's threats to Black Sea maritime transport, with almost 60% of Ukrainian grain exports transiting through the country.

Similar farmer and trucker protests took place at the Polish, Slovakian, and Hungarian borders with Ukraine throughout the winter.

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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