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Poland's Tusk slams gov't for 'inaction' over trucker protest at Ukraine border

28.11.2023 19:00
Poland's opposition leader Donald Tusk has called on the government to resolve a protracted protest by transport companies blocking the country's border with Ukraine. 
Donald Tusk (centre) in parliament on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
Donald Tusk (centre) in parliament on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.PAP/Marcin Obara

Tusk said on Tuesday that steps were urgently needed to protect Poland's national interests and its relations with Kyiv, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Speaking at a media briefing in parliament, the leader of the liberal Civic Coalition (KO) accused Poland's governing conservatives of "inaction" over the haulers' protest, an approach that he said was "endangering Polish-Ukrainian relations" and "neglecting Poland's interests."

Tusk, who has been named as the candidate for Poland's new prime minister by a bloc of pro-European Union opposition parties, said the ruling conservatives were "putting in danger Poland's fundamental interests and relations with Ukraine, Russia and the EU" over the truckers' protest.

He added that he was scheduled to hold talks with experts later in the day to seek ways to resolve the issue.

Tusk, a former top EU official, has already chosen most candidates for ministerial roles in his future Cabinet, if the ruling conservatives fail to secure parliamentary backing for their new government, according to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Polish government spokesman said on Tuesday that the newly appointed infrastructure minister, Alvin Gajadhur, would visit the Polish-Ukrainian border the next day to meet with the haulers' organisations.

Piotr Müller added that Poland would unveil "a package of measures to resolve the issue" at a meeting of EU transport ministers in Brussels on December 4.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is set to brief MPs on Wednesday on the transport companies' protest, public broadcaster Polish Radio's IAR news agency reported. 

Polish truck drivers on November 6 launched a blockade of the Hrebenne, Dorohusk and Korczowa checkpoints with Ukraine, demanding that the EU reinstate permits for Ukrainian haulers entering the bloc.

Last Wednesday, they also blocked the Medyka checkpoint.

Polish transport companies announced last Thursday that the protest at the Dorohusk checkpoint would be extended until February 1, Ukraine's Ukrinform news agency reported.

As a result of the blockade, hundreds of trucks were lined up on both sides of the border, the IAR news agency reported.

On Monday, Ukraine was experiencing fuel supply shortages due to the blockade of the Ukrainian-Polish border, according to the Ukrinform news agency. 

Meanwhile, Polish farmers were also blocking the Medyka crossing, demanding subsidies on wheat and state-backed loans amid an influx of Ukrainian grain, Polish media reported.

The farmers on Monday said the blockade would remain in place until January 3, the PAP news agency reported.

Poland's newly appointed agriculture minister, Anna Gembicka, was set to meet with the protesting farmers at Medyka on Tuesday night, according to government officials.

Tuesday is day 643 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.


Source: IAR, PAP, Ukrinform