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Nearly 4K Ukrainian trucks stuck in queues at the Polish border due to protests

Ukraine has lost billions of dollars in exports due to trucker protests blocking border crossings with Poland for 7 weeks, with 1,700 trucks now lined up at the largest crossing, Yahodyn-Dorohusk.
Yahodyn-Dorohusk. Queues of lorries at the border crossing with Ukraine, December 2023. Credit: Jakub Orzechowski / Agencja
Nearly 4K Ukrainian trucks stuck in queues at the Polish border due to protests

As of the morning of 22 December, around 3,900 trucks are waiting in lines at the border with Poland to enter Ukraine, Ukrinform reported, citing Andriy Demchenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service.

During the last seven weeks, Ukrainian truckers have been blocked from crossing the border at four checkpoints with Poland due to Polish haulers’ protests, which resulted in losing at least €400 million ($440 mn) in Ukraine’s economy, Babel reported. However, Polish entrepreneurs also suffer from the blockade since Polish exports can’t be transported properly into Ukraine.

The blockade continues at four checkpoints – Yahodyn, Rava-Ruska, Krakovets, and Shehyni. The direction of the Yahodyn-Dorohusk border crossing was unblocked for some time. However, since 18 December, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine-Western Border said the blockade has resumed.

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service spokesman, Andriy Demchenko, also said that around 1,700 trucks are waiting in lines at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk border crossing point. According to him, it’s the largest number of trucks than those waiting at other checkpoints.

Demchenko said that the smallest movement is at the largest infrastructure facility and direction – the Yahodyn-Dorohusk border crossing point, where around 170 trucks crossed the border in both directions over the past day, “of which only about 30 were in the direction of Poland, the rest were in the direction of Ukraine.”

Demchenko said freight transport traffic is not blocked at border crossings between Ukraine, Hungary, and Slovakia.

Earlier, the Slovak Truckers Union reported on Facebook on 15 December that they ended the blockade of Ukrainian cargo vehicles entering Slovakia via the Uzhhorod-Vyshné Nemecké border crossing.

The border blockages negatively impact not only Ukraine’s economy, which has already lost billions of dollars, according to Babel, but also interfere with the delivery of military aid to Ukraine, which affects Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

On 25 November, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy said that the Poles are not allowing important cargo for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to pass through.

Polish authorities claimed the protesters don’t interfere in the delivery of military aid to Ukraine. However, this applies only to official governmental transfers. All military products delivered to Ukraine by volunteer organizations are forced to stay in the general queue, affecting Ukraine’s ability to defend itself.

The head of the Come Back Alive Charitable Foundation, Taras Chmut, said in the interview for Radio Liberty that the protests by Polish truckers and farmers “slow down the delivery of certain products, such as pickup trucks, night vision devices or quadcopters coming from abroad for a certain period.”

“They are getting through, but where it used to take a day, now it can take two or three weeks,” he said.

Chmut said that the foundation had appealed to state authorities to resolve this issue or tried to resolve the problems locally.

Besides material losses, there are human losses due to protests. On 16 December, a Ukrainian truck driver died at the Krakivets-Korczowa checkpoint, according to Volodymyr Balin, Vice President of the Association of International Road Carriers. Earlier, on 11 November, a 54-year-old truck driver died in a parking lot near the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint. Additionally, on 23 November, a Ukrainian driver died in Poland in a parking lot near the Korczowa-Krakivets checkpoint.

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