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Border Guard: Slovakia resumes border blockade

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 11, 2023 6:22 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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Slovak truckers protesting EU transport rules for Ukrainian trucks have again blocked the Ukraine-Slovakia border, Ukrainska Pravda reported on Dec. 11, citing State Border Guard Service spokesperson Andrii Demchenko.

Slovak truckers previously temporarily blocked the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing on Nov. 21 and again on Dec. 1.

The Slovak truckers union UNAS said on Dec. 5 that it would begin a total blockade of the border crossing if its demands regarding the EU's liberalization of the permit system for Ukrainian truckers are not addressed.

Trucks have been blocked at the checkpoint since around 4:10 p.m. local time, Demchenko said. UNAS is blocking the movement of trucks heading from Ukraine to Slovakia, but trucks leaving Slovakia are allowed to pass.

Over 1,200 trucks are currently in line to leave Ukraine at the checkpoint, according to the State Border Guard.

UNAS announced on Dec. 10 that it plans to resume blockading the border on Dec. 11, and the protest will continue "until further notice."

"Entry to the territory of the Slovak Republic for truck transport will be blocked. Passenger transport will not be restricted in any way," the union said.

The launch of a blockade by Polish truckers in early November preceded the initial blockade at the Slovak border.

The Polish truckers claimed that the blockade was in protest of the high number of Ukrainian drivers entering Poland, which haul goods from Poland to other countries, undercutting local businesses that cannot match lower Ukrainian prices.

The blockade at the Dorohusk-Yahodyn crossing on the Polish-Ukrainian border was lifted on Dec. 11, according to Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Dorohusk-Yahodyn was one of the four checkpoints blocked by Polish protesters since November due to the EU's liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian carriers.

The Infrastructure Ministry and Ukraine's embassy in Poland have been engaged in talks on all levels to end the blockade at the largest freight crossings between the two countries, Kubrakov said.

Protests continue at the Hrebenne-Rava-Ruska, Medyka-Shehyni, and the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossings. Ukrainian-Polish talks from Dec. 1 allowed for the passage of empty trucks through the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv checkpoint.

Anger and disappointment in endless lines of Ukrainian trucks at Polish border
As Polish haulers’ blockade of border checkpoints with Ukraine stretches into its second month, thousands of Ukrainian truckers remain stranded in huge lines waiting to cross into their homeland. They say they’re losing patience. Though the estimated waiting time has somewhat dropped since the star…
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