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Polish farmers resume blockade at Poland-Ukraine border crossing

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 4, 2024 10:17 AM 2 min read
Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Medyka as Polish farmers start a strike and block truck transport in Medyka, a border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, on Nov. 23, 2023. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Polish farmers renewed their blockade at the Shehyni-Medyka crossing on Jan. 4 after a temporary reprieve during the holiday season, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. The protests are set to last until Feb. 3.

Since November, Polish truckers have been blocking three crossings with Ukraine in protest of the EU's liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian truckers. Polish farmers announced they were also launching a protest at the fourth crossing starting Nov. 23 but said they would suspend it one month later on Dec. 24.

Roman Kondrow, the leader of a Polish farmers' organization "Betrayed Countryside," has demanded written assurances about subsidies for growing corn, increased loans, and maintenance of the agricultural tax at the current rate.

In lieu of such demands being explicitly guaranteed by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Kondrow vowed that the protest would continue starting Jan. 4. Speaking to the Polish Press Agency on Jan. 3, Kondrow said that farmers had not received such assurances on paper.

The blockade is to be stricter than before the holiday season, with one truck allowed through every hour. Military equipment, humanitarian aid, dangerous goods, and perishable items would still be allowed to pass, Kondrow said.

Kondrow noted that Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski visited the border blockade in late December and promised that the farmers' grievances would be addressed but that he wanted an answer from Tusk because he "rules the whole country."

The prime minister said during a press conference on Jan. 3 that he would "study the reasons why...some farmers... decided to return to the border blockade."

Tusk vows to convince Polish carriers to halt their blockade
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would convince Polish carriers blocking the border with Ukraine not to use such methods, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported on Jan. 3.

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