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Polish farmers suspend blockade at one border crossing over Christmas

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 24, 2023 12:30 PM 2 min read
Trucks stand in line in Medyka, Poland, amid an ongoing blockade by Polish truckers on Nov. 23, 2023. (Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Polish farmers have suspended their blockade at the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing for the Christmas period, Ukraine's State Border Service announced on Dec. 24.  

Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski and Deputy Agriculture Minister Michal Kolodziejczak met the farmers for talks on Dec. 23.

The Polish Agriculture Ministry then announced that the farmers had agreed to suspend their protest over the Christmas period. Truckers continue to block three other border crossings.

"After the New Year, we will sit down at the table to work out the expected solutions together," Kolodziejczak said on X.  

Polish truckers began blocking border crossing points with Ukraine in early November in protest of the EU's liberalization of transit rules for their Ukrainian counterparts, claiming that the influx of Ukrainian drivers harmed their livelihoods.  

Ukrainian officials and industry representatives deny the accusations.

The blockade has left thousands of Ukrainian truckers stranded in long lines in freezing temperatures. Over 4,000 trucks were waiting in line to enter Ukraine from Poland on Dec. 23, according to Border Guard Service spokesman Andrii Demchenko.

Ukrainian and Polish officials sought possible solutions to the protests during the visit by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to Kyiv on Dec. 22.

According to Sikorski, the final details of an agreement between Poland and Ukraine are being worked out, which could unblock the border. Polish Deputy Infrastructure Minister Pawel Gancarz came to Kyiv with Sikorski for talks on the issue.

Gancarz said in Kyiv that he hopes "the problem will be solved before Christmas," Polish media outlet Wiadomosci reported.

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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