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Border guards: 2,800 trucks blocked due to strikes on Polish-Ukrainian border

by The Kyiv Independent news desk November 18, 2023 2:48 PM 2 min read
Trucks near the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing waiting to pass into Ukraine in Dorohusk, Poland on Nov. 10, 2023. (Damien Simonart/ AFP via Getty Images)
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Polish truckers on strike have blocked about 2,800 trucks from passing through the Polish-Ukrainian border, Andriy Demchenko, a spokesperson of Ukraine's State Border Guard Service, said on air on Nov. 18.

Movement for cargo trucks was blocked at the Yavhodyn– Dorohusk, Rava-Ruska– Hrebenne crossings, and Krakivets-Korczowa border crossings, but cars were allowed to pass.

About 1,200 trucks are stuck at the Krakivets-Korczowa, 1,200 at the Yavhodyn– Dorohusk, and 500 at Rava-Ruska– Hrebenne, he said.

Congestion is also increasing at the Shehyni-Medyka border crossing, with 1,200 trucks accumulating around the checkpoint, Demchenko said.

Poland has been one of Ukraine's biggest backers and a key transit partner since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Protesters are demanding renewed restrictions on the number of Ukrainian trucks permitted in Poland, claiming that the lack of such restrictions was hurting business for Polish drivers.

They are also calling for a ban on transportation companies from outside the European Union.

According to EU rules, Ukrainian trucks do not require permits until June 30, 2024, after the EU and Ukraine signed an agreement in June 2022 to liberalize transport rules.

Ukrainian officials met with Polish truck drivers on Nov. 13 but the talks failed to progress.

The European Commission warned the Polish government that it must take action to end the blockade of the border with Ukraine by Polish truckers, Polish media outlet RMF24 reported on Nov. 16.

A European Commission spokesperson told RMF24 that the "Polish authorities, under EU law, are obliged to ensure the free movement of Ukrainian trucks at border crossings."

Polish truckers started blocking three border crossing points on Nov. 6, protesting the liberalization of EU transport rules for Ukrainian trucks.

The Polish authorities are obliged to keep the border open as it is a key "solidarity lane," according to an RMF24 journalist in Brussels.

The "solidarity lanes" between Ukraine and the EU were launched in May 2022 as part of a European initiative to keep Ukraine's trade routes open amid Russia's full-scale invasion.

The road and rail border crossings have become increasingly important following Russia's attempts to block Ukraine's Black Sea ports from July 2023 and ongoing attacks on port infrastructure.

Official: Polish truck drivers won’t unblock border, talks lead nowhere
The negotiations failed to end the dispute between Ukraine and the Polish drivers demanding renewed restrictions on the number of Ukrainian trucks permitted in Poland as this request is “unrealistic at the moment,” Deputy Infrastructure Minister Serhii Derkach said.
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