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Slovak truckers threaten to completely block crossing on Ukrainian border

by Nate Ostiller December 6, 2023 4:06 PM 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 said on Dec. 5 that it 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.

Stanislav Skala, the president of UNAS, said that he understood the "path to a solution is not easy" but that it is "unacceptable for the current situation to remain."

He also thanked Slovak Transport Minister Jozef Raz for raising the issue with the EU's Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council in Brussels on Dec. 4, and said that UNAS representatives were scheduled to meet with Raz on Dec. 7 to further discuss the protesters' demands.

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

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.

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

Other steps agreed on between Ukraine and Poland included creating separate electronic passes for empty vehicles at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk and Krakivets-Korczowa crossing points and launching a pilot electronic queueing system.

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

Ukrainian retailers face big losses, disruptions due to Polish border blockade
As the Polish trucker blockade of Ukrainian haulers heads toward the one-month mark, the toll on Ukraine’s businesses is adding up. As of Dec. 4, around 2,500 trucks are stuck at the Ukrainian border with Poland waiting to cross because of the protests, which started on Nov. 6

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