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Polish farmers to join blockade on Ukrainian border

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 18, 2023 9:28 AM 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, Poland, on Nov. 6, 2023. (Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Polish farmers association United Village will join the blockade of the Polish-Ukrainian border at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk crossing at 2:30 p.m. local time on Dec. 18, protest organizer Rafal Mekler said late in the evening on Dec. 17.

Polish truckers have been blocking four crossings with Ukraine, including Yahodyn-Dorohusk, since November in protest of the EU's liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian truckers. A local mayor withdrew the permit for protests at Dorohusk on Dec. 11, citing potential material losses and a risk to jobs, but a court in the city of Lublin overruled the ban on Dec. 15, clearing the way for a resumption of the blockade.

Mekler also declared a set of demands that included a ban on importing sugar from Ukraine, compensation for Polish corn production, and subsidy payments for farmers.

The farmers will join Polish truckers at the border protest, who also said they would resume the blockade on Dec. 18.

Polish farmers have said that despite the ban on the transit of Ukrainian grain through the country, the domestic market has still been impacted, and authorities have not taken enough measures to protect Polish farmers.

Disputes surrounding the ban on importing Ukrainian grain evolved into a larger diplomatic spat in September. Recently elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk has pledged to end the blockade, but members of his governing coalition have also indicated they plan to maintain the grain import ban.

Polish truckers initially launched the demonstration on the grounds that the influx of Ukrainian drivers harmed their livelihoods. Ukrainian officials and industry representatives deny the accusations.

Slovak truckers, who have intermittently blocked the crossing at the Vysne Nemecke-Uzhhorod crossing with Ukraine, said earlier on Dec. 15 they had ended their blockade.

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