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Tusk urges Polish farmers to stop blockade at Ukrainian border as 'fate of war' at stake

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 19, 2024 12:00 PM 2 min read
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw, Poland, on March 28, 2024. (PM Denys Shmyhal/Telegram)
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk called on Polish farmers to stop blocking the border with Ukraine, Polskie Radio reported on April 18.

The farmers began blocking trucks at several border crossings in February in protest of Ukrainian agricultural imports and the European Union's Green Deal. Despite ongoing negotiations between Kyiv and Warsaw, no satisfactory resolution has been achieved so far.

Polish farmers temporarily renewed the blockade of trucks at the Korczowa-Krakovets and Medyka-Shehyni crossings on April 18. The protesters are expected to block trucks heading to Ukraine via Korczowa-Krakovets until the morning of April 20 and cargo vehicles going through Medyka-Shehyni in both directions until early April 19.

Tusk said that Ukraine is in "an extremely difficult situation" after recent Russian attacks on the country's energy infrastructure. Polish authorities cannot allow blocking of border checkpoints regardless of the reason for the protests, according to him.

"We cannot in any way harm Ukraine in a situation where the fate of the war is being decided," the prime minister said.

"I am counting on reflection and rejection of this form of protest."

EU to impose restrictions on export of Ukrainian agriculture products, agrees to free trade extension
The European Council announced on April 8 that it had reached a provisional deal with European Parliament representatives to extend the suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports to the EU until June 2025, but with new restrictions on agriculture products.

The Polish government is ready to provide further forms of assistance to those farmers who have lost part of their income, Tusk said.

Polish state services will reportedly work "to clear the checkpoints," although, the prime minister does not think that there is a need for direct enforcement measures.

The ongoing blockade has led to deteriorating relations between Kyiv and Warsaw. Protestors spilled Ukrainian grain on several occasions, sparking outrage in Ukraine.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal arrived in Poland on March 28 to meet with his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk, and discuss agricultural trade between the two countries.

The two officials agreed to search for "mutually satisfactory solutions," such as a verification and control system for trade in agricultural goods.

Earlier this month, Poland and Ukraine established a Council for Cooperation to deal with bilateral Polish-Ukrainian relations and aid Ukraine's reconstruction.

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