Espreso. Global

Unblocking border with Poland: Ukraine fulfills its agreement terms

8 January, 2024 Monday
15:55

Ukraine has fulfilled its obligations outlined in the action plan agreed upon with the Polish government to reopen the border. Now Kyiv expects further steps from Warsaw

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Deputy Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure, Serhiy Derkach, shared the information on the United News telethon, Espreso reports.

"The plan that was agreed upon has been implemented by Ukraine, and as of today, there are no issues on our part. The question now revolves around what demands the protesters may have for the Polish government," Derkach said.

According to him, the new Polish government is making efforts to swiftly address the border blockade issue and is engaged in negotiations with carriers. However, the demand to annul the agreement on transportation liberalization with Ukraine cannot be met. This position is corroborated by both the EU and Polish authorities.

In addition, Derkach denied the protesters' claims that the abolition of permits for Ukraine allegedly "killed" the Polish market. He noted that the number of bilateral shipments by Polish carriers decreased by only 5% compared to the period before the full-scale invasion.

"Their claims that Ukrainian carriers have completely "killed" the Polish transportation market are not true," the official emphasized.

He also added that in November 2023 alone, Ukraine lost almost UAH 10 billion in customs duties due to the blockade of the border. At the same time, Poland is also suffering losses.

Strikes on the border between Poland and Ukraine

Strikes have erupted on the Poland-Ukraine border due to increased competition following the opening of international transportation between Ukraine and EU nations. To address this, the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development initiated talks with Poland and the European Commission.

Responding to the potential border blockage, the State Border Guard Service provided comments, and Ukraine formally communicated its concerns to Poland regarding the planned strike by Polish carriers at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

On November 6, Polish carriers initiated a strike at the border. The Ministry of Infrastructure noted that no official demands had been submitted by the Polish carriers to Kyiv.

By the evening of November 7, Polish carriers had fully halted the movement of cargo vehicles at two border checkpoints with Ukraine.

According to Volodymyr Balin, vice president of the Association of International Road Carriers, Polish carriers are violating the terms of the strike, which could help to get it called off. At the same time, the Ukrainian economy has already suffered losses of more than €400 million.

Meanwhile, the Polish government has called on Ukraine to cancel the e-queue registration for empty trucks. Poland’s Minister of Agriculture also met with the protesters and offered them a compromise solution.

On December 4, the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE) will discuss the situation with the blockade on the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Meanwhile, the Polish government has called on Ukraine to cancel the e-queue registration for empty trucks. Poland’s Minister of Agriculture also met with the protesters and offered them a compromise solution.

On December 1, the blocked Ukrainian drivers at the Polish border held talks with the consul. On December 4, the Uhryniv-Dolhobyczów border crossing point opened to empty trucks.

As a result of the protesters' blocking of the border with Ukraine, exports through these checkpoints decreased by 40%, and the state budget of Ukraine lost UAH 9.3 billion due to a shortfall in customs payments. 

Later it became known that the trucks blocked on the border with Poland would be returned to Ukraine by rail. On the evening of December 7, Ukrainian Railways sent the first container train with trucks to Poland, consisting of 23 platforms with 13 loaded tractors and semi-trailers.

On Monday, December 11, truck traffic was unblocked at the Polish-Ukrainian border through the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint. However, in the evening of the same day, protesters blocked the unblocked crossing with a truck.

The European Commission called for the unblocking of all checkpoints on the border with Poland.

On Saturday, December 23, Polish farmers suspended their protests at the Shehyni-Medyka checkpoint. The new Polish government said it would hold talks with the protesters.

On January 4, they resumed the blockade of the border crossing and said they planned to protest until February 3.

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