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Slovak truckers to resume blockade at border with Ukraine

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 11, 2023 1:34 AM 2 min read
Snow-covered trucks stand in a line over 7 kilometers long near Bidovce, Slovakia on Nov. 28, 2023. (Robert Nemeti/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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The Slovak truckers union UNAS will renew its blockade at the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing between Slovakia and Ukraine on Monday, Dec. 11, local media reported citing the UNAS president.

The Union president reportedly stated that the blockade will continue "until further notice."

"Entry to the territory of the Slovak Republic for truck transport will be blocked. Passenger transport will not be restricted in any way," the union announced.

Truckers from Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia argue they are being unfairly treated by existing EU policies because their Ukrainian counterparts do not have to purchase expensive permits.

Slovak truckers previously blocked the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing on Nov. 21 and again on Dec. 1. However, Ukrainian Deputy Infrastructure Minister Serhii Derkach said on Dec. 4 that the blockade had been suspended.

The UNAS president, Stanislav Skala, later threatened on Dec. 5 that the union would begin a total blockade of the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing between Slovakia and Ukraine if its demands regarding the EU's liberalization of the permit system for Ukrainian truckers are not addressed.

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 situation remains complicated at the Polish-Ukrainian border, where Polish protesters have blocked four crossings, causing huge lines on both sides. Earlier this week, around 3,300 trucks were stuck at blocked checkpoints on the Polish side of the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Talks between Kyiv and Warsaw on Dec. 1 brought some results, as the parties agreed to open the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv checkpoint for empty trucks.

Although Poland wants to return to the permit system – one of the key demands of Polish protesters – Ukraine's Deputy Infrastructure Minister said that the European Commission does not plan changes and is ready to defend the transport visa-free regime with Ukraine.

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