21 Dec 2023 16:13

Ukrainian deputy PM, new Polish infrastructure minister discuss border blockade

MOSCOW. Dec 21 (Interfax) - Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Restoration Minister Alexander Kubrakov has discussed the blockade of the Polish-Ukrainian border with Dariusz Klimczak, newly-appointed Polish infrastructure minister.

"I met in Warsaw with newly-appointed Polish Infrastructure Minister Dariusz Klimczak. We discussed several issues relating to the transport sector, but the key topic is unblocking the border," Ukrainian media quoted Kubrakov as saying on his social account.

Kubrakov said he presented key figures and analytics concerning freight traffic between the two countries to show that the problems referred to by Polish protesters to rationalize their actions do not exist in reality.

The two ministers also discussed the launch of a separate electronic queue management system for empty trucks passing through the Yagodin-Dorohusk crossing, he said.

While the registration of trucks for a separate line has begun since Monday, no practical effects can be seen now as the border remains blocked, and only three trucks have left Yagodin over the past day, Kubrakov said.

Ukraine has extended the registration of foreign trucks to 60 from 20 days owing to an explanatory note the State Customs Service has circulated among local customs offices, Kubrakov said.

"We discussed Poland's arguments and position. It is important to have a uniform understanding of figures and data on shipments and the market share occupied by our and Polish truckers," Kubrakov said.

Another meeting with Polish representatives is planned in Kiev later this week, he said.

As reported, Polish truckers started the blockade of the Dorohusk-Yagodin, Krakovets-Korczowa, and Rava Russkaya-Hrebenne crossings on the Polish-Ukrainian border on November 6. The Polish farming association Oszukana Wies joined the protests by blockading the Shegini-Medyka border crossing on November 22, with only checkpoints for empty vehicles and vans remaining unblocked.

The protesters, who are demanding the abolition of "visa-free transport" for Ukraine that the European Commission introduced in 2022, said that they had permission from local authorities to continue their campaign until January 3, 2024. Moreover, they claimed having permission to extend the blockade at some checkpoints until February, and according to Polish media reports, a new Dorohusk-Yagodin blockade will last until March inclusive. Ukraine hoped the border would be fully unblocked after the new government led by Donald Tusk came to power in Poland, but so far this has not happened anywhere but Dorohusk.