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Polish farmers resume blocking Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint after holiday halt

The Polish protesters announced on 24 December, 2023 that they would halt the border blockade at the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint for the holidays and resume it on 2-3 January 2024 if they did not “receive a written statement from the Prime Minister that their demands would be met.”
Polish protesters at the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint, 4 January 2024. Credit: Suspilne

Polish farmers resumed a protest at the Shehyni-Medyka checkpoint at 09 am on 4 January 2024, Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service reported. The protest consists of blocking the Ukrainian trucks from entering and exiting Poland.

The Polish farmers’ obstruction of the checkpoint contributes to the months-long blockage of three other checkpoints by Polish truckers, which causes significant damage to Ukraine’s economy and military-related supplies.

The Polish protesters had announced on 24 December at 8 am that they would halt the border blockade at the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint for the holidays. They said they would resume the strike at the border on 2-3 January 2024 if they would not “receive a written statement from the Prime Minister that their demands will be met,” said one of the strike organizers, Roman Kondruw.

According to Kondruw, they will let three trucks through per hour. They also promise to let humanitarian cargo and trucks with perishable goods through without delay. Cars and buses can cross the border as usual.

The protest is expected to last until 3 February. Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service reported that about 800 trucks are waiting to enter Ukraine in Poland.

  • On 31 October, a major protest by Polish truck drivers threatened to shut down all border crossings between Poland and Ukraine starting on November 3rd, which marked the beginning of the border blockade crisis.
  • On 6 November, dozens of Polish truck drivers blocked three border crossings with Ukraine and expanded it to a fourth crossing. The Polish protesters demanded the return of permits for Ukrainian carriers, tougher EU transportation requirements, prohibiting non-EU company registration, access to Ukraine’s Shlyakh system for eligible drivers, separate border queues for EU cars in eCherha, and dedicated lanes for empty vehicles.
  • On 13 November, talks between Ukraine and Poland at the countries’ border failed to resolve the strike, and four days later, nearly 3,000 trucks had congested at the Polish-Ukrainian border.
  • The organizers of the Polish trucker strike at the Ukrainian border had close ties to Russia and supported Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
  • The protest claimed its first casualty on 22 November, when a 56-year-old Ukrainian truck driver who was waiting to cross the border into Ukraine died.
  • On 27 November, Poland presented Ukraine with carrier demands: implementation of commercial permits for Ukrainian companies, except those transporting humanitarian/military goods, plus suspension and verification of licenses for companies opened after the Ukraine war outbreak.

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