"Let's support each other": Ukrainians in Warsaw ask to unblock border
Ukrainians working in international trade gathered in Warsaw to express their concerns and suggestions to the Polish authorities. They are concerned about the situation at the border, where Ukrainian truckers are forced to wait in lines, risking their health and lives
This was reported by Espreso correspondent Maria Cherniakhivska from the scene.
The peaceful action "Wspierajmy się" ("Let's support each other") of Ukrainians took place near the Sejm building in the Polish capital.
"We are now at the first rally in Warsaw, which is related to the situation at the border. It was organized by activists who are involved in international trade and want to establish a dialogue with the Polish authorities," the correspondent explained.
Citizens involved in international trade, with the support of the Association of International Road Carriers of Ukraine, emigrants and volunteers, are asking to unblock the border first. The activists explain that the restriction of the crossing threatens the health and lives of Ukrainian drivers.
They also ask to improve the conditions for exports and imports between the two countries, because both the Ukrainian and Polish economies need it. The third topic is the fight against disinformation and propaganda, because it has its place in Poland and causes discord between people.
The activists wrote up these proposals in a letter and brought them to the Sejm building.
"We have handed over letters from the Association of International Carriers of Ukraine and a letter from the Lviv-based International Carriers of Ukraine public organization. These letters ask the Polish government to pay attention to the fact that people are dying, there are two deaths. There are also economic problems for both countries in this situation. We are asking to consider the issue at the next meetings or commissions," explained Viktoria Trifon, organizer of the action, civic activist, founder of the EU-Ukraine Trade Club.
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.
Subsequently, it was revealed that trucks are facing up to a 90-hour wait to enter Ukraine.
On November 9, a meeting of government officials and carriers blocking the border with Ukraine took place in Poland, but it concluded without any resolution. Simultaneously, the lines of trucks are growing longer. Consequently, Ukraine has suggested to the Polish authorities the initiation of lanes for empty trucks and is currently awaiting their response.
On November 15, trilateral talks with Poland and the European Commission on unblocking the crossing points took place, but they did not yield any results. Instead, the European Commission may initiate measures against Poland if the authorities do not resolve the issue of carriers blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine.
Polish carriers have promised to tighten the blockade on the border with Ukraine. In addition, customs officers have begun to record an increase in truck queues in the Slovak direction.
Ukraine and Poland are preparing claims for damages caused by the blockade of border crossing points due to the rally of Polish carriers. In addition, it has been reported that Polish carriers are not allowing humanitarian aid and dangerous goods to pass through.
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 5, the European Commission supported the continuation of the Agreement on the Liberalization of Freight Transport between Ukraine and the European Union, which allows Ukrainian drivers to avoid obtaining permits for international transportation.
In Warsaw, the ambassadors of the Baltic States expressed to the Polish authorities their dissatisfaction with the fact that Polish drivers block the movement of trucks on the Polish-Ukrainian border, thereby undermining Ukraine's ability to continue the war with Russia.