The Polish police said that they are investigating the events in which a truck that entered Poland from Ukraine was stopped, and the grain it was carrying was dumped on the road.
Footage published on social media shows how farmers in Poland have blocked roads in protest against competition from Ukrainians and the heavy demands of EU regulations.
🔴 Polish farmers, who declared a nationwide strike starting from February 9th, poured grain from Ukrainian trucks at the Jagodin-Dorohusk border. According to Ukrainian media reports, protesting farmers cut the seals off the trucks and poured out some of the grain.…
— Voice of Europe 🌍 (@V_of_Europe)
The incident happened several days after Polish truck drivers ended their two-month border blockade.
“There has been another escalation on our common border,” said Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine.
“The lack of response from the Polish authorities to the destruction of the cargo will lead to even greater xenophobia and political violence,” the deputy minister warned.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy condemned this wartime destruction of Ukrainian grain.
“Ukrainians are literally shedding blood in the fields where this crop grows,” the mayor said on social media.
“Growing wheat in a field that has seen war is like the work of a sapper,” he added, calling the people who dumped the grain in Poland “pro-Russian provocateurs.”
This is not the first time protests have taken place at the border of the two countries. At the end of last year, Polish road transporters blocked the border, causing huge losses to Ukrainian transporters and farmers, now farmers are doing it.
The new promotion will last for a month, and during it only up to 3 freight carriers per hour will be allowed to pass through the border point. During the previous period of the blockade, this meant that Ukrainian truckers sometimes had to queue for weeks to cross the Ukrainian-Polish border. Over time, a large part of cargo flows on the way to the European Union were diverted around Poland.
On Sunday, the situation escalated at the Dorohuska-Jahodine point, where Polish protesters prevented three trucks driven by Ukrainians from moving forward. They not only blocked the movement of these cargoes inside Poland, but also opened the truck and dumped some of the grain on the side of the road.
What happened in Ukraine is evaluated very negatively – especially considering the current conditions, in which Ukrainian farmers actually continue to sow their fields under bullets and rockets and harvest crops, which are now simply dumped on the roadside.
Ukrainians expect an active action by Polish law enforcement officers on what happened and hope that the situation on the border will be settled soon. For its part, Ukraine has appealed to the President of the Council of the European Union regarding the violations committed by the Poles.
As Volodymyrs Balins, vice-president of the International Road Carriers Association of Ukraine, said at the press conference of the Media Center on Monday, what happened on Sunday raises questions not only about a peaceful protest in Poland, but about the physical blocking of Ukrainian carriers’ cargo. Ukrainians see Russian influence in what is happening.
“Three times more cereals enter the European Union market from Russia than from Ukraine. Three times! This applies to cereals that go both in transit through the European Union (EU) and to other countries in transit through Poland, as well as to it. Why is the question arose about Ukrainian grain? I think it’s a purely political issue, and if you look closely, you can see another economic front,” said Balin.
Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Monday that Poland’s support for Ukraine in the war will remain unchanged, but the interests of Polish farmers are also important.
It is not a Polish problem that a few hundred or thousands of people in Ukraine want to earn a lot of money. Poland will support Ukraine as a country, Ukrainians as people, but this cannot happen at the expense of unfair competition in relation to Polish farmers.
At the moment, road transporters have not yet estimated the latest data on how much losses are caused to businessmen every day due to the border blockade.
However, at the end of last year – in November, when a similar blockade on the border was implemented by Polish road carriers, the Bank of Ukraine estimated that in November alone, such a blockade caused damage to the Ukrainian economy in the amount of approximately one billion euros.
True, after it was clear that the protests would last, many truckers chose to extend their journey to the European Union by bypassing Poland for several days rather than stand in queues there, and therefore these losses in the following months, when the protests continued, could be smaller.