Espreso. Global

Moscow puppeteers, Russian agents, and "useful idiots": the people behind the border blockade

3 December, 2023 Sunday

The blockade of the Polish-Ukrainian border is fully in line with Medvedev's plan, which he published two days before it began. However, there is cautious optimism that the situation on the border will be resolved. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, an attack on the Ukrainian language has begun

At the beginning of the week, I was at the border, where the blockade continues. I saw everything with my own eyes, met with Ukrainian carriers and businessmen, and heard from them the real picture of lawlessness at the border.

Before that, my friends from the Armed Forces called me and told me that cargoes of spare parts needed to produce weapons here in Ukraine were actually blocked at the border: they hope that somehow they will be able to resolve this. I also hope that our economy and our ordinary people, who are suffering from rising prices, fearing shortages of goods and the consequences of missile strikes on infrastructure, should feel better.

The future Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, expressed his indignation at the inaction of the current ruling party, Law and Justice. He stated that the border should not be unblocked for two weeks, i.e. until December 11-12, when the Sejm is to vote on the formation of a new government.

We know Tusk as a strong man, a Polish and European politician. The influential magazine Politico recognized him as the most influential politician in Europe in 2023. At the request of the coalition that Tusk leads in the Sejm, the ministers of agriculture and infrastructure from the Law and Justice party reported on the situation at the border: they are already losing power, but they are still performing government functions. The ministers were forced to make a fuss: for Ukraine and our truckers this is a positive thing because the absence of the government and its bodies is the basis of the lawlessness that is happening at the border.

When I was in Krakow, the Minister of Agriculture met with protesting farmers at the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint. Farmers are also protesting there now. They are not satisfied with the price of corn. And the reason for its decline is a large corn harvest in Brazil and the United States. Ukrainian farmers are also suffering from this. But no, they are blocking Ukraine, even though Poland has imposed an embargo on Ukrainian grain imports. This is a mockery of a country at war.

The minister promised farmers additional payments to the price of corn, tax breaks, and fuel surcharges. What can I say? Well done! They got themselves some nice extra money and benefits. But what does this have to do with our country? Nothing at all.

The Minister of Infrastructure of Poland met with the organizers of the truckers' protest. He said that Poland had applied to the EU to return the license to transport goods to Ukraine. This is completely absurd. He also spoke about a letter to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure regarding the abolition of the E-Cherga (online queue booking system for international cargo carriers - ed.) for Polish truckers returning from Ukraine to Poland, and that enhanced control groups should be set up to check Ukrainian trucks to prevent abuse. In response, the minister received a promise not to block two additional checkpoints, to evaluate the activities of the "enhanced control groups" and to wait for a discussion of the situation on the EU transportation market at a meeting of the European Transport Council on December 4.

Cautious optimism

What are the conclusions? Well, first of all, Poland has no serious arguments to restore the license for transportation to and from Ukraine. The only trump card is the blocking of the border by a tiny number of protesters and the blockade of one of the checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Slovak border. I have already said that there were 50 people there, and this issue could have been resolved in 15 minutes. So, the current Polish government is trying to say that the problem is wider. 

Secondly, the Ukrainian government has all the arguments to explain in detail the need to maintain free access of our carriers to the European market. Moreover, the position of the European Commission is absolutely clear: European Commissioner for Transport Adina Veljan recognized the situation at the border as absolutely unacceptable. She said that "there is no goodwill in finding a solution, and almost no involvement of the Polish authorities," which I have emphasized many times. She also added that if the blockade continues, the European Commission will impose penalties on Poland.

Finally, the blockade must end as soon as possible, because the damage to the Ukrainian and Polish economies is growing every day. Just as the cost of the blockade for the national security of our countries, the EU and NATO is growing. 

We are already hearing reports that Ukrainian drivers in Krakow are going on a hunger strike. They are mocking Ukrainian drivers, the Ukrainian population, and Ukrainian security in general. 

However, the events of the past week have allowed us to become cautiously optimistic. We expect positive news on Monday. 

We should be inspired by the example of Finland, which has closed all checkpoints on the border with Russia because of the Kremlin's attempts to artificially create a migration crisis in the neighboring country. The Finnish authorities realized the threat, took adequate measures and solved the problem for themselves, for the entire eastern flank of NATO and the EU. 

I heard the speaker of the Finnish parliament in the Verkhovna Rada, who spoke in beautiful Ukrainian during the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor. He came to demonstrate support for Ukraine and emphasize that we have one enemy.

Blocking the border is a special operation of Russia

The blocking of the Ukrainian-Polish border is a special operation implemented under Russia's plan to destroy Poland. A plan that was published by Dmitry Medvedev on November 4. And by a "coincidence", the blocking of the border began two days later. 

Medvedev's plan is a lengthy article titled 'Poland: Megalomania Inferiority Complex and Phantom Pains of a Failed Empire.' This is a lengthy excursion into the history of Poland, Russian-Polish, and Ukrainian-Polish relations. Modern Poland, according to Medvedev, is an expansionist, imperial and irresponsible state whose role in international politics is comparable to that of the Third Reich on the eve of World War II. This is completely absurd. The article concludes with five threats that allegedly emanate from Poland, although these are five strategic directions that Russia is trying to push Poland to follow with the help of pro-Russian forces, its agents and "useful idiots." And Russia is doing it.

So, the first threat is the alleged deployment of Polish troops in western Ukraine with the aim of "bloody seizure" of this territory and its annexation to Poland. 

Because, as Medvedev says, despite "Warsaw's hypocritical assurances, the Polish and Ukrainian peoples have not been and will not be fraternal." The attitude of "Polish lords to ordinary Ukrainians as helpless serfs" is part of the internal Polish consensus, Medvedev claims, a cliché originating from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, the repetition of which allowed the Russian leadership to allegedly warn of "a threat from Poland, the disappearance of the Ukrainian state, radical assimilation of the enslaved population, and acute social tensions that will result in a severe migration crisis that has never been seen in Europe before."

The blocking of the Ukrainian-Polish border began on November 6, two days after the publication of Medvedev's article, by Polish truckers that had long operated in Russia and Belarus. Who is in charge? That's right, people connected to the Russian Federation, with the full cooperation of the central and local authorities, whose self-imposed exclusion has led to protesters checking the cargo of Ukrainian trucks. 

"Polish lords" and "Ukrainian serfs" - this image is formed by itself. Especially since Ukrainian drivers, two of whom have died and others are on hunger strike, are standing in long lines, deprived of basic living conditions.

From the very beginning of the border blockade, the pro-Russian Confederation party provoked it. Its representatives allegedly registered threats against Polish drivers and organizers and allegedly heard anti-Polish shouts from Ukrainian drivers. As a result, the "truth about Volyn" and complaints about the "ingratitude of Ukrainians" for the great help of Poland and the Poles after Russia's full-scale invasion spread through social media. 

At first, Ukrainians could not understand why Poland was in such a mess. Consequently, voices began to be heard more often that the Poles simply did not like Ukrainians, and that the solidarity after February 24, 2022, was an illusion…

"Polish Lviv" and the justification of Operation Vistula

Finally, a well-known activist of the anti-abortion movement associated with the Confederation decided to express the Polish "truth". Lviv, she wrote on November 26, should return to Poland: "You received it from the Soviet Union without any reason." "Lviv must be Polish." This is one step towards a march of Polish soldiers on the capital of Galicia and all of western Ukraine. The theses of Moscow's puppeteers have gained signs of reality.

Jacek Siewiera, the concerned head of the National Security Bureau under the President of Poland, stated that any statements demanding changes to the borders recognized by the international community are detrimental to the basic interests of the Republic of Poland. The statement is correct, it is necessary. But why doesn't the Polish official state that blocking the Ukrainian-Polish border and unauthorized inspection of cargo for the warring Ukraine is also a blow to Poland's national security?

On November 28, the prosecutor's office of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, Rzeszów branch, closed the case of recognizing the 1947 Operation Vistula as a crime against humanity. Thus, the prosecutor's office of modern Poland, a member of NATO and the EU, stated that the state was simply obliged to punish "hostile national groups." It is frightening to think of such wild lawlessness.

How did the prosecutor's office of the Institute of National Remembrance motivate its decision? Because, in their opinion, the UPA (The Ukrainian Insurgent Army - ed.) also killed Poles, so the authorities of communist Poland were simply obliged to deport 140,000 Ukrainians from their native lands to the northern and western lands of the Polish state. 

"A Pole will never be a brother to a Ukrainian" - this conclusion suggests itself. This is if we accept that the whole of Poland and all Poles say so. But this is not true, because there is another Poland, other Poles, and they are in the majority, and their representatives will form the new Polish government. It is with them that we will restore good neighborly and truly friendly relations. And thus we will disrupt the Kremlin's plans to destroy Ukraine, Poland and the whole of Europe.

The attack on language in Ukraine

While far-right, pro-Russian forces are fighting Ukrainians in Poland, some forces are fighting Ukrainians in Ukraine. The government has submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada, ostensibly to fulfill EU conditions, which should amend the law on national minorities, language, and education. There are many absurd theses there. No one in the EU requires us to reduce the amount of Ukrainian language broadcasting on Ukrainian television from 90% to 30%.

What is going on? Russia says that the "Russian world" ends where the Russian language ends. Ukrainians volunteer for the front and fight to defend the Ukrainian state, Ukrainian culture, and the Ukrainian language. Ukrainians are switching to Ukrainian, but pro-government lobbyists, who have been Russifying Ukraine through Russian films and TV shows, want to continue doing so. They want to bring the Russian language back to the screens and continue to film in Russian for us and the Russian market. They think that tomorrow we will surrender to Russia. This will not happen. This law will not pass.


About the author. Mykola Kniazhytskyi, journalist, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs

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