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Media: Poland detains Ukrainian reporter investigating Russian trade

Ukrainian journalist Mykhailo Tkach detained by Polish police. Source: Ukrainska Pravda
Media: Poland detains Ukrainian reporter investigating Russian trade

Polish law enforcement detained a journalist from “Ukrainska Pravda” media outlet, Mykhailo Tkach, along with a cameraperson, near the Polish-Belarusian border while the journalist was recording a segment on the transit of goods between Poland, Russia, and Belarus.

Since November 2023, Polish truckers have begun blocking truck traffic at three border crossing points with Ukraine. The country’s farmers joined the protest at the Shehyni-Medika checkpoint. After a temporary suspension in January 2024, Polish truckers resumed the blockade. On 9 February, Polish farmers initiated a nationwide strike, reigniting the border blockade, which is expected to continue until at least 10 March.

With the Russian naval blockade rendering Ukrainian sea trade nearly impossible, the Polish border blockades complement the Russian embargo, strangling the Ukrainian economy and disrupting supplies into the nation currently defending against Russian aggression.

Ukrainska Pravda has strongly condemned the actions of Polish law enforcement, accusing them of partially deleting footage during an incident near the Polish-Belarusian border. The news team also said that the situation was only addressed following the intervention of the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland. The media outlet expressed its gratitude to the Ukrainian ambassador and the consul for their swift response.

Tkach, explaining the incident, said that close to the border of Poland with Belarus, his team was approached by Polish police. After they showed their documents and press credentials, the police began seizing their cameras and conducting a search.

“Later, we were taken to a border police unit. About ten people began searching our car, throwing our belongings on the hood, and taking all memory cards from the cameras, phones, and documents.

During the interrogation at the police station, I informed them that we were journalists. I explained that we were documenting how Poland trades with Russia through Belarus and how agricultural products from Russia and Belarus are transported to Poland.

It was evident that representatives of the Polish special services were alarmed. They started asking me who else knew about this and whether Ukrainian authorities were aware. They asked who our sources were, how we learned about it, and how long we were working on the topic,” the journalist recalled.

Tkach and the cameraperson were also asked whether they would speak publicly about being detained.

They spent at least four hours at the station and were released after receiving orders “from above.” Throughout this time, the journalists were not allowed to contact anyone.

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