Polish farmers blocking defense aid from reaching Kiev – activist

Aprilia Rine

Polish farmers blocking defense aid from reaching Kiev – activist
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Agriculturalists have been staging protests at the border for months, decrying the flow of cheap Ukrainian produce into the country

Polish farmers demanding an end to the inflow of cheaper produce are blocking trucks carrying Kiev-bound military aid, a Ukrainian activist has claimed. The protesters had earlier vowed to disrupt the transportation of goods not only through vehicle checkpoints, but also via rail.

Polish truckers and farmers began staging regular blockades on the border with Ukraine in October 2023, protesting against the EU’s decision to exempt Ukrainian haulers from having to seek permits to enter the bloc. The activists insist that the measures introduced since the conflict between Moscow and Kiev erupted in early 2022 have led to unfair competition and driven down the price of agricultural produce.

The blockades were briefly lifted in January after the government in Warsaw pledged to reinstate a permit system for Ukrainian truckers and introduce subsidies for Polish corn. However, protests resumed earlier this month after the European Commission proposed extending the suspension of customs duties on agricultural goods from Ukraine and Moldova through 2025.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, Ukrainian volunteer Nazar Smyk, who describes himself as someone who procures military equipment and vehicles for Kiev’s troops, complained that his “trucks have been standing (idle) with military equipment at the border for three days” due to the blockade.

Video clips shared on Ukrainian telegram channels featured Polish protesters saying that they “don’t support the Ukrainians” and “this is Poland, not Brussels.”

There has also been footage circulating on social media and Telegram showing Polish demonstrators dumping Ukrainian grain from freight cars right onto the ground.

A similar incident involving several Ukrainian trucks earlier this month at the Dorohusk border checkpoint prompted Andrey Sadovoy, the mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, to brand the Polish protesters “pro-Russian provocateurs.”

“Ukrainians are literally watering the fields that give birth to this grain with their blood,” the official wrote on his Telegram channel, characterizing the demonstrators’ actions as “mean and shameful.”

Several days prior, thousands of farmers demonstrated in approximately 260 communities across Poland with their tractors and heavy machinery. The Solidarity trade union behind the rallies accused the Polish government of kowtowing to the EU’s guidelines on the “import of agricultural produce and food products from Ukraine.”

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