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Warsaw denies claim that border blockade prevents delivery of military aid to Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller December 9, 2023 12:23 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian drivers wait near their trucks, blocked by Polish protesters near the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing Yahodyn-Dorohusk on Nov. 25, 2023, in Yahodyn, Poland. Polish truck drivers continue to block four Polish-Ukrainian border crossing points for freight traffic. The key demand of Polish protesters is to bring back the system of issuing permits for Ukrainian carriers to work in the EU. (Photo by Vitalii Nosach/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The ongoing blockade of the border by Polish truckers has not hindered the ability of military equipment to reach the front lines in Ukraine, Polish Vice Minister of National Defense Marcin Ociepa said on Polsat News on Dec. 8.

Ociepa was responding to a Dec. 7 story by The New York Times in which a Ukrainian soldier, known only as Oleksandr, said that the blockade had prevented his unit from receiving much-needed night vision devices.

"I categorically deny that such a situation occurred," Ociepa said. "Military convoys that cross the border are convoys escorted by military police. They pass in a completely different way, (same) as emergency vehicles, and are not hostages of any protests."

Polish truckers began protesting and blockading border crossings with Ukraine in early November, saying that a high number of Ukrainian drivers entering Poland are hauling goods from Poland to other countries, undercutting local businesses that cannot match lower Ukrainian prices. Ukrainian officials and industry representatives deny the accusations.

The protesters have said that humanitarian aid and essential goods would not be subject to the blockade, but representatives of Ukrainian trucking companies have previously said they were prevented from transporting medical equipment and other non-commercial goods.

Ukraine's state-owned railway Ukrzaliznytsia shipped 23 trucks by train that had been stuck at the Polish border, the company announced on Dec. 7.

It was the first such train-based transportat of trucks in what could be a temporary answer to the blockade, as negotiations have yet to yield a lasting solution.

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