25 Dec 2023 16:14

Blockade of one of four checkpoints on Ukrainian-Polish border lifted - Ukrainian Border Service

MOSCOW. Dec 25 (Interfax) - The protest at the Medyka-Shegini crossing on the Polish-Ukrainian border ended on December 24, with trucks now being allowed through, Ukrainian media reported, quoting the Ukrainian State Border Service.

Three checkpoints between Ukraine and Poland remain blocked.

"According to information from the Polish Border Guard, the protest in front of the Medyka-Shegini checkpoint has ended. Registration and passage of trucks across the border in the direction Ukraine proceeds as usual. Border guards together with control services employees are working to ensure the as many trucks as possible can pass," the Ukrainian State Border Service said on Telegram.

The Ukrainian Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development Ministry (Restoration Ministry) said it and the Polish Infrastructure Ministry had agreed on a plan of action to lift the blockade of the border between the countries.

It said they had reached an understanding regarding compromise solutions and their implementation. The next stage is negotiations at the level of the Polish Infrastructure Ministry and the protesters. Changes to the current agreement between Kiev and the EU on the liberalization of freight transport is, so-called visa-free transport, is not being discussed.

Deputy Ukrainian ministers Sergei Derkach and Yury Vaskov held a meeting with Poland's new deputy infrastructure minister, Pawel Gancarz, on December 22.

"Together we finalized the action plan for unblocking the border. We agreed on a protocol with a unified position of the ministries. This meeting was agreed upon on Wednesday [December 20] by [Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration - Minister of Restoration] Alexander Kubrakov and Polish Infrastructure Minister Dariusz Klimczak," Derkach said on social media.

The Polish Infrastructure Ministry said on its website after the meeting between Klimczak and Kubrakov that the main topic was the protest by Polish truckers on the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Klimczak conveyed to Kubrakov the demands received from protesters at a meeting in Lublin, including the need for the Ukrainian side to improve the mechanism for trucks that use the Ukrainian electronic queue system to cross the border, ruling out the registration of empty vehicles returning from Ukraine in this system, and excluding EU carriers, including Polish carriers, from this system at border crossings specified by them. As an alternative, the principle of reciprocity could be introduced regarding the length of time EU vehicles are allowed to remain in Ukraine and vice versa.

Klimczak also mentioned the need to modify the agreement between the EU and Ukraine on road transport of goods, the complete abolition of which the protesters initially insisted on.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal proposed during a meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in Kiev at the end of last week that shared control at border checkpoints be introduced. "We discussed strengthening economic cooperation. We focused on the key issue: the unhindered movement of goods across our shared border. We must come up with a balanced solution. I proposed introducing shared control at checkpoints. This would make them more efficient," Shmygal said on Telegram.

Polish carriers began a phased blockade of four checkpoints on the border with Ukraine in November, demanding the reinstatement of the system for issuing permits for Ukrainian carriers to operate on the European market.

The blockade of the Dorohusk-Yagodin checkpoint and two more border points - Krakovets-Korczowa and Rava Russkaya-Hrebenne on the Polish-Ukrainian border - began on November 6. The blockade extended to the Shegini-Medyka border crossing on November 22, with only checkpoints for empty vehicles and vans remaining unblocked. Oszukana Wies or Betrayed Countryside association participated in the blockade of the Shegini-Medyka border crossing.

The protest has seriously affected Ukraine's agricultural exports. The European Commission considers the situation on the Polish-Ukrainian border to be unacceptable.