12 Jan 2024 17:10

Problems for Ukraine's agro-industrial complex due to blocked borders with Poland remain - Ministry of Agrarian Policy

MOSCOW. Jan 12 (Interfax) - Current vehicle traffic capacity on the Ukrainian-Polish border is not sufficient to meet Ukraine's needs for agricultural exports, Ukrainian media reported, citing a statement by the country's First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Taras Vysotsky.

A video of his statements was posted on the Telegram channel of Ukraine's Ministry of Agrarian Policy.

"Unfortunately, there are still thousands of trucks standing in queues," he said.

The Deputy Minister said there are four main vehicle checkpoints through which agricultural exports previously moved fluidly. Specifically, these are the Sheginie checkpoint (blocked for about a month, but traffic through it has been restored), the Krakovets checkpoint, where movement is still partially limited, and the Rava-Ruska and Yagodin checkpoints, where the situation also remains challenging.

"There are positive changes compared to the most difficult moment, when all the points were almost completely blocked, but work and negotiations on unblocking all the checkpoints are still ongoing," the deputy minister said.

He said that the Polish side must understand how it benefits from cooperation with Ukrainian farmers and carriers. Polish enterprises can receive raw materials from Ukraine for processing. In addition, Ukraine imports many goods from Poland as part of the countries' bilateral trade.

"We continue to emphasize that this is mutual cooperation for both Ukrainian and Polish businesses. And this also applies to road transportation," he said.

At present, there is no "critical risk" to farmers due to difficulties with the export of Ukrainian agricultural products across the Ukrainian-Polish border, since the main Ukrainian agricultural products traveling through Poland for export do so exclusively on a transit basis.

"As of now, starting in April last year, the Poles have restricted the import of major grains and oilseeds," Vysotsky said.

Negotiations are currently ongoing at the level of the Ministry of Reconstruction of Ukraine and the Polish government, and clarifications are also going out to carriers, he said.

"Here it is possible to find a compromise, to complement one other, including on transport routes, so as not to return to the blockade. In the end, it harms not only Ukrainian business, but Polish business as well," the deputy minister said.

Polish carriers gradually blocked four checkpoints on its borders with Ukraine in November 2023, demanding restoration of the system of issuing permits for Ukrainian carriers to operate on the European market.

On November 6, the blockade of the Dorohusk-Yagodin, Krakovets-Korczowa and Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne checkpoints began. Later, on November 22, the border blockade extended to the Sheginie-Medyka crossing; only the checkpoints for empty vehicles and the checkpoints for light-duty vehicles remained unblocked. The protest in front of the Medyka-Sheginie checkpoint ended on December 24.

The blockade seriously affected Ukraine's agricultural exports. The European Commission considers the situation on the border between Poland and Ukraine unacceptable.