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24 Nov, 2023 09:38

Polish truckers blocking Ukraine military cargos – media

Drones, infrared cameras, and medical supplies are stuck at the border due to the protest, according to media outlet UNIAN
Polish truckers blocking Ukraine military cargos – media

A border blockade by Polish truckers is affecting the delivery of military and humanitarian goods to neighboring Ukraine, the UNIAN media outlet has claimed, citing volunteers. Among the supplies that allegedly cannot reach Ukraine are fuel, drones, and thermal cameras.

The truckers began their protest on November 6, denouncing the EU’s decision to exempt their Ukrainian counterparts from having to seek permits to cross the frontier. The law was initially relaxed after the conflict between Moscow and Kiev broke out in February 2022, but the protesters argue that the measures have led to unfair competition and have driven down prices.

In a Telegram post on Friday, Ukrainian media outlet UNIAN cited a volunteer who collects donations for Kiev’s forces and delivers electronic equipment. He complained to his followers on Facebook that components for anti-drone detectors “are all stuck at the Polish border.

A fellow Ukrainian volunteer, Boris Miroshnykov, wrote in a Telegram post on Tuesday that “right now, thousands of vans with critical imports – fuel, drones, thermal imagers, medical goods, etc. – are being blocked at the Polish border.” He added that “humanitarian cargoes do not pass either.”  

Miroshnykov claimed that the consequences for Ukraine could soon be “comparable to a naval blockade by” Russia. The volunteer also lamented that “Warsaw will not voluntarily help with the solution of the issue.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Poland, Vasily Zvarych, sent an official note to the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw on Friday, demanding the immediate unblocking of the frontier. He cited reports that a second Ukrainian trucker had died while waiting in the queue at a border crossing.

One day previously, the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper cited the Federation of Employers of Ukraine as reporting that the country had suffered losses of over $437 million due to the protests. According to the report, every single day of strike action by Polish haulers is costing Ukrainian companies an average of €25,400 ($27,700) each.

Vladimir Balin, vice president of the Association of International Road Haulers of Ukraine, described the situation as “really critical” at a briefing in Kiev.

According to Andrey Demchenko, spokesperson for Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service (SBGS), as of Monday morning there were approximately 2,900 trucks waiting at Polish-Ukrainian border crossings.

Also on Monday, Ukraine’s deputy minister for infrastructure, Sergey Derkach, claimed in a Facebook post that Polish protestors were blocking multiple fuel tankers and humanitarian trucks.

Officials in Kiev have warned that the continuation of the strike could see prices in Ukraine rise by as much as 10%.

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