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Polish ministers visit protesters at Polish-Ukrainian border to address crisis

by Martin Fornusek November 29, 2023 2:03 PM 2 min read
Polish Agriculture Minister Anna Gembicka visits farmers blocking the Polish-Ukrainian crossing at Medyka, Poland, on Nov. 28, 2023. (Polish Agriculture Ministry/X)
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Polish Agriculture Minister Anna Gembicka visited Polish protesters blocking the Ukrainian border on Nov. 28, while Polish Infrastructure Minister Alvin Gajadhur is to make a visit on Nov. 29, the Polish Press Agency reported.

The ministers of the recently appointed Mateusz Morawiecki's new government are seeking solutions to the weeks-long blockade that brought tensions with Ukraine and caused huge lines on both sides of the border.

Gembicka said she met with farmers blocking the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint to "continue dialogue" and address their demands.

Polish farmers joined truckers in their blockade, complaining that Ukrainian imports are pushing down grain prices. Their demands include government subsidies, state-backed loans, and maintaining the agricultural tax at the current level.

Gembicka said on social media that the government offered the protesters subsidies for corn of over 1,000 Polish zlotys ($250) per hectare and an increase in lending under liquidity loans by 2.5 billion Polish zlotys ($630 million).

She also promised a mechanism for the protection of domestic farmers.

Tusk accuses Polish government of ‘inaction’ on Ukraine border blockade
Donald Tusk, the leader of the Polish Civic Coalition (KO), accused Poland’s government of “inaction” regarding the ongoing blockade of the border with Ukraine by Polish protesters, the Polish Press Agency reported on Nov. 28.

The spokesperson of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party said that Gembicka reached a preliminary agreement with farmers and that a compromise on various solutions was reached.

Infrastructure Minister Gajadhur is also expected to visit the border to talk with Polish truckers, spokesperson Rafal Bochenek said on the RMF24 radio.

Polish truckers began blocking three border crossings with Ukraine on Nov. 6 in protest of the liberalization of EU transport rules for Ukrainian trucks. The protesters blocked a fourth crossing several weeks later.

Ukrainian officials complained of problems with humanitarian deliveries and economic fallout due to the blockade, appealing to the Polish government for assistance. Two Ukrainian truckers have reportedly died of natural causes while stranded in the line.

Donald Tusk, the opposition's candidate for the prime minister, accused the current government of inaction in solving the crisis.

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