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Kyiv sends humanitarian team to help truckers stuck at Polish-Ukrainian border

by Dominic Culverwell November 19, 2023 10:14 PM 2 min read
Banners with the demands of the protesting truckers are seen hung on trucks during the blockade of the border crossing to Ukraine near Dorohusk town. Nov. 6, 2023. (Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The Infrastructure Ministry has launched a humanitarian effort to help truck drivers blocked at three Polish-Ukrainian checkpoints, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov wrote on Facebook on Nov. 19.

Disgruntled Polish truckers have been protesting at three checkpoints since Nov. 6, causing huge lines on both sides of the border. The protestors are demanding limitations on the number of Ukrainian haulers entering Poland.

Drivers are facing tough conditions as temperatures plummet and snow falls in eastern Poland. Kyiv has created a support group to provide Ukrainian drivers with food, drinking water, medicine, and fuel.

“Today, an initiative team is already working at the border, which has 11,000 food kits, drinking water, and necessary medicines,” Kubrakov said.

“The headquarters will work until the border is unblocked and traffic stability through the checkpoints is restored.”

The team is also ready to evacuate some 3,000 Ukrainian drivers stuck on the Polish side if needed.

Lines stretch from 30 kilometers at the Yahodyn checkpoint, to 10 kilometers at the Rava-Ruska checkpoint. Lines are over 16 kilometers long at the Krakivets crossing.

The situation is escalating as negotiations between Ukraine and the protestors earlier this week failed to resolve the situation.

As part of the Solidarity Lanes Initiative, the EU suspended transport permits for Ukrainian drivers last summer to help Ukraine’s struggling export industry following Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. As such, Ukrainian drivers have free movement into neighboring EU states.

The number of Ukrainian haulers entering Poland has increased drastically and protestors argue that local businesses are being undercut. They claim Ukrainian drivers are transporting goods from Poland to third countries at a cheaper rate than what local companies can afford.

Despite the European Council warning Warsaw that it needs to end the blockade, the situation is only getting worse and looks set to spread beyond Poland.

Members representing the road transport industry in Slovakia, Hungary, Czechia, Lithuania, as well as Poland, released a joint statement on Nov. 17 addressed to the EU. They called for Brussels to “consider termination or significant changes to the current EU-Ukraine arrangement without any delay.”

Slovakia scrutinizes Ukrainian trucks amid long lines at border
Slovakia’s police, labor inspectors, and Transport Department officials are conducting checks on Ukrainian trucks stuck at the Slovakian border, the Slovak Transport Ministry said in a statement on Nov. 15.
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