Ukraine's olive branch to Poland? Kyiv takes steps amid truckers' border protest | World News - Hindustan Times
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Ukraine's olive branch to Poland? Kyiv takes steps amid truckers' border protests

Reuters |
Dec 01, 2023 08:54 PM IST

Protests by truckers over what they see as unfair competition from their Ukrainian peers started on Nov. 6, with four border crossings now under blockade.

Polish truckers burn wood to keep warm as they block crossings at Ukrainian border near the village of Hrebenne, Poland (REUTERS)
Polish truckers burn wood to keep warm as they block crossings at Ukrainian border near the village of Hrebenne, Poland (REUTERS)

Ukraine's infrastructure ministry said on Friday it had agreed with Poland on some measures which could help ease the situation at border crossings blocked by Polish truckers but that protesters' main demands have not been on the agenda.

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Protests by truckers over what they see as unfair competition from their Ukrainian peers started on Nov. 6, with four border crossings now under blockade.

A Ukrainian senior official said this would reduce the country's overall imports by about a fifth in November and could cost one percentage point of GDP growth if they drag on.

In a statement on its website, the ministry said that a request to reintroduce a permit system for Ukrainian truckers entering the European Union - one of the main demands of Polish protesters - had not been discussed.

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Another issue is Ukraine's system of electronic queuing for crossing the border. Polish truckers argued it was being applied uniformly to fully loaded EU trucks as well as empty ones, causing long waiting times for the latter.

The ministry said among the measures agreed between the countries was the opening of the Uhryniv checkpoint, currently operating only for passenger cars and buses, for free passage of empty trucks aimed at reducing the load on other checkpoints.

Registration upon arrival in the electronic system will be introduced for the Nyzhankovychi crossing, along with special passes for empty trucks at two crossings currently under blockade - Yahodyn and Krakivets.

"At the same time, Polish protesters insist on the operation of Uhryniv – Dolgobychow and Nyzhankovychi – Malchowice only for transport registered in the EU. This position is unacceptable for Ukraine and the European Union," the ministry said.

Truckers from Ukraine have been exempt from seeking permits to cross the EU border under an agreement signed in June 2022, four months after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Polish truckers want a return to a limited number of licenses for Ukraine, something that Kyiv and Brussels say is impossible.

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