Espreso. Global

Ukrainian drivers blocked at Polish border talk to consul: what was agreed on?

1 December, 2023 Friday

The Ukrainian consul visited the Ukrainian drivers who have been queuing at the Korczowa-Krakowiec checkpoint for more than two weeks and were about to go on a hunger strike

According to Suspilne, the Ukrainian drivers blocked in Poland managed to negotiate with the mediation of Consul Vasyl Yordan that the Polish strikers would allow seven cars per hour to cross the border at Korczowa, and that trucks with humanitarian aid would be allowed to pass out of the queue.

However, there was already a similar agreement with the strikers, but they broke it.

As Espreso has learned, it was agreed that for one hour the Polish strikers will let 7 trucks from the queue on the A-4 highway (four with regular cargo, three with dangerous or perishable goods) cross the border in Korczowa. The next hour, seven trucks from the queue on the DK-94.

Why the drivers are ready to go on a hunger strike

According to Anatoliy Romaniuk, a driver who has been in the queue for 15 days, on December 1, Ukrainian drivers decided to gather and go to negotiate with the Poles blocking the border.

"There are queues on two roads: highway A-4 and DK-94. We went from the A-4. But the police did not allow us to go on the highway. They began to threaten that they would issue a mandate for this, because you cannot walk on the highway. "Then we decided to go through villages, through field roads, but the Polish police blocked them too," says the driver. "They also did not allow us to communicate with our colleagues on the DK-94. To give you an idea, the queue to Korczowa stretches for about 60-80 kilometres through various car parks. That's why it's hard for us to communicate with each other. But it can't go on like this."

According to Romanyuk, the drivers are running out of diesel and gas in the cylinders they use to cook their food. 

"We go to each other's cabs to keep warm. The stoves are out of order. After all, not all drivers are young guys of 18. There are those in their 60s and over 60. Their health is not good. From time to time they call an ambulance," he says. "There are people with diabetes who run out of insulin. Then they ask to be let through faster, but some are taken to hospital. Then people lose their patience. Most are ready to go on a hunger strike if there is no progress." 

2,000 trucks blocked at Korczowa alone

Roman Vlasiuk, an international transportation driver, told Radio Liberty that about two hundred Ukrainian drivers who have been standing near the Korczowa checkpoint for two weeks wanted to talk to Polish protesters, but were stopped by police.

"We were blocked in the middle of the field. We are about 200 drivers here. The police said that according to their laws, gathering of people in such numbers is not allowed. They are in full ammunition, with tear gas canisters, pepper spray," Vlasiuk said.

He also spoke about yesterday's agreement, which provided that Polish carriers would let seven cars through per hour, but it did not last long.

"It lasted until 22:00. Then the agreement was broken, and we were put back to one car per hour. Now we have 2,000 trucks blocked at Korczowa alone, meaning that 2,000 trucks are waiting to export to Ukraine," the driver said, adding that two Ukrainian drivers had just been allowed to meet with their Polish counterparts.

"Our demands are to let all the cars that were supposed to leave at night under the 7-car-per-hour agreement through in one go, and to increase the passage to 14 cars per hour in the future. If our conditions are not met, we will officially go on a hunger strike. We refuse any volunteer help. We are switching to water and tea only," emphasized Roman Vlasiuk.

Also, according to the driver, yesterday the Polish Transport Inspectorate began to fine Ukrainian drivers for violating the work schedule.

  • On November 6, Polish truckers went on strike at the Polish-Ukrainian border. Ukraine's Ministry of Infrastructure said that Polish side had not submitted any official demands to Kyiv.
  • On December 4, the EU Transport Council will discuss the situation with the blockade on the Polish-Ukrainian border, where the Polish government will demand that the agreement with Ukraine be terminated.
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