KYIV, Nov 20 — About 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks, including those carrying fuel and humanitarian aid, were stuck on the Polish side of the border yesterday due to a more than 10-day blockade by Polish truckers, Ukrainian authorities said.
Polish truckers earlier this month blocked roads to three border crossings with Ukraine to protest against what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Ukrainian officials said last week Kyiv and Warsaw had again failed to reach an agreement to stop the protest.
“For over 10 days, Ukrainian drivers have been blocked at the Polish border. Thousands of people are forced to live in difficult conditions with limited food, water and fuel,” Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said on X, formerly Twitter.
He said trucks were backed up more than 30km toward the Yahodyn crossing, more than 10km toward Rava-Ruska, and more than 16km toward the Krakivets crossing.
Serhiy Derkach, Ukraine’s deputy infrastructure minister, said that there have been “numerous” cases when trucks carrying fuel and humanitarian aid — which were to be assured unimpeded crossing — were stuck in queues.
“We have passed information about these cases to our Polish colleagues .... We are waiting for an answer,” Derkach said on his Facebook page.
Reuters could not independently verify the report.
With a team from his ministry, Derkach on Sunday delivered food, water and medicine to the drivers stuck at the Krakivets and Rava-Ruska crossings. Another support cargo was being prepared for drivers stuck at the Dorohusk crossing, he said.
“The situation there is no less critical — more than 1,200 trucks are in the queue,” he said.
Polish state news agency PAP reported over the weekend that the busiest Polish-Ukrainian crossing in Medyka may also be blocked from early this week. The Medyka crossing is situated across the border from the Ukrainian crossing of Shehyni.
The protest at Medyka would mean that four — or half of Polish-Ukrainian border crossings — may be blocked off as of this week.
According to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry, an average of 40,000-50,000 trucks cross the border with Poland per month via eight existing crossings, twice as many as before the war. Most of the goods are carried by Ukraine’s transport fleet.
Now only a few vehicles per hour are going through the Polish border at blocked checkpoints, Ukrainian border guards say.
Ukrainian grain brokers said last week Ukraine’s shipments of food by road decreased 2.7 per cent in the first 13 days of November due to difficulties on the Polish border caused by a drivers’ strike.
Spike Brokers, which regularly tracks export statistics, said that the passage of vehicles through customs checkpoints on the border with Poland decreased to 4,000 tons of cargo per day, compared to the peak of 7,500 tons per day a month earlier. — Reuters