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Polish farmers suspend protest at Ukraine border

24.12.2023 07:30
Polish farmers have said they will suspend the blockade of the Medyka checkpoint with Ukraine from Sunday until January 2, after the government agreed in principle to their demands, including state-backed loans amid the influx of Ukrainian grain.
Photo:PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

The farmers announced their decision following talks with Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski on Saturday.

The minister pledged the government would meet their demands, adding it would "require time," the rp.pl website reported.

The farmers are demanding state-backed loans amid the influx of grain from Ukraine, a ban on the import of sugar, subsidies to maize, and that rate of the farm tax be kept unchanged, according to officials.

They said they were suspending the blockade of the Medyka checkpoint with Ukraine from 8 a.m. on Sunday "until January 2 or 3," in anticipation of a "written pledge from the prime minister" that their demands will be met, rp.pl reported.

If the farmers' demands are fulfilled in the 2024 budget, they will cancel their border protest, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Polish hauliers are continuing their blockade of the Korczowa, Hrebenne and Dorohusk checkpoints with Ukraine, demanding that the European Union reinstate permits for Ukrainian transport companies entering the bloc, the Kyiv Post website reported.

The EU waived the permits system following Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but Polish road carriers say the move had undermined their earnings, according to news outlets. 

As a result of their protest, on Saturday the queue of trucks waiting to enter Ukraine through Hrebenne totalled 750, meaning a waiting time of 6 days, while in Dorohusk the queue numbered 1,720 trucks, meaning a waiting time of 12 days, rp.pl reported.

Poland's Infrastructure Minister Dariusz Klimczak on Saturday said the government in Kyiv was willing to discuss renegotiation of its current "visa-free transport regime" with the European Union.

Klimczak added that Poland and Ukraine had set up a joint working group to assess the current regulations, which will report in March, rp.pl reported.

Sunday is day 669 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: rp.plKyiv Post