Polish Farmers Unblock Checkpoint with Ukraine, Protests Continue at Other Crossings

Polish farmers unblock one Ukraine border crossing, but continue blockades at two others, disrupting trade and aid flows between the countries amid tensions over agricultural imports.

Israel Ojoko
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Polish Farmers Unblock Checkpoint with Ukraine, Protests Continue at Other Crossings

Polish Farmers Unblock Checkpoint with Ukraine, Protests Continue at Other Crossings

Polish farmers protesting against Ukrainian imports have unblocked the Dołhobyczów-Uhryniv border checkpoint between Poland and Ukraine on April 16, allowing trucks to move freely in both directions. However, the blockade of two other major border crossings, Hrebenne - Rava-Ruska and Dorohusk-Yahodyn, persists.

The protests by Polish farmers began in February, disrupting truck movement, ports, and roads, which benefits Russia by undermining Ukraine's economy during its two-year war. The unblocking of the Dołhobyczów-Uhryniv checkpoint came after a previous blockade by Polish truckers disrupting Ukrainian aid and goods supplies, including drone parts, was lifted late last year .

Polish farmers continue to block truck traffic at three checkpoints with Ukraine - Yahodyn, Rava-Ruska, and Uhryniv. On April 15, they did not allow any lorries to pass towards Poland. At the Yahodyn checkpoint, protesters only let a small number of lorries exit Poland, despite it being the largest infrastructure route for freight vehicles. As of April 16, around 600 lorries were waiting in queues at the three blocked points on the Polish side of the border.

Passenger cars and buses are still freely crossing the border. Queues also persist at previously unblocked crossing points Krakovets and Shehyni, but there is intensive traffic in both directions on these routes. At the Yahodyn and Rava-Ruska checkpoints, Ukrainian lorries have had zero crossings for some time. At the Uhryniv checkpoint, Polish protesters are either not allowing any lorries to pass or only letting a few cross the border.

Why this matters: The ongoing blockade has led to deteriorating relations between Ukraine and Poland, with protesters spilling Ukrainian grain on several occasions. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met with his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk, in late March to discuss agricultural trade between the two countries, and they agreed to search for 'mutually satisfactory solutions.' Earlier this month, Poland and Ukraine established a Council for Cooperation to deal with bilateral relations and aid Ukraine's reconstruction. Despite the protests, Poland has donated around $3.2 billion in military aid to Ukraine and hosted around 1 million Ukrainian refugees since the outbreak of the full-scale war.

According to Andrii Demchenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the registration and passage of freight vehicles in both directions at the Dolhobychóv-Uhryniv checkpoint is being carried out normally. Currently, there are 100 heavy trucks waiting to leave Ukraine and 30 trucks with a gross vehicle weight of up to 7.5 tonnes waiting for clearance in Poland. Drivers and hauliers are advised to consider this information while arranging international transportation.

Key Takeaways

  • Polish farmers unblocked Dołhobyczów-Uhryniv border, but blockade persists at 2 other crossings.
  • Protests by Polish farmers disrupt truck movement, ports, and roads, benefiting Russia.
  • Around 600 lorries waiting in queues at 3 blocked border points on Polish side.
  • Ongoing blockade deteriorates Ukraine-Poland relations, with protesters spilling Ukrainian grain.
  • Despite protests, Poland has donated $3.2B in military aid and hosted 1M Ukrainian refugees.