Impenitent Polish truckers cause 10-day waits at Ukraine-Poland border, crisis HQ established

Queue at the Rava-Ruska checkpoint, archive
Queue at the Rava-Ruska checkpoint, archive

A crippling strike by Polish truckers has led to a massive traffic jam at the Ukraine-Poland border, leaving approximately 2,900 cargo vehicles stranded in queues as long as 30 kilometers, Ukrainian State Border Guard Service spokesperson, Andriy Demchenko, said on national television on Nov. 19.

“Unfortunately, the movement for trucks continues to be blocked by Polish carriers,” Demchenko said. The strike is concentrated at three border crossing points — Yahodyn, Rava-Ruska, and Krakovets.

“They eventually allow a few trucks to pass per hour in both directions, those coming from Poland and those heading into the country. However, this does not significantly increase the traffic intensity,” Andriy Demchenko explained.

Presently, about 1,200 trucks are stuck in the queues toward the Yahodyn and Krakovets crossing points, with an additional 500 trucks awaiting passage on the Rava-Ruska route.

Read also: Over 2,500 trucks backed-up at border blocked by striking Polish truckers, lines still growing

Seeking faster alternatives, carriers are diverting to other border crossing points, exacerbating congestion in those areas.

For instance, at the Shehyni border crossing point into Poland, approximately 1,300 trucks are awaiting entry into Ukraine. An additional 400 trucks combined are waiting at the Ustyluh and Smilnytsia crossing points in the direction of Ukraine, Demchenko reported.

Read also: Poland buys Ukraine’s excess electricity

Before the strike, the State Border Guard Service reported daily traffic of 1,200-1,300 trucks at the Yahodyn border crossing point and approximately 600 trucks at the Rava-Ruska and Krakovets crossing points in both directions.

Update at 1:40 p.m.: Crisis headquarters established at the Poland border to assist stranded Ukrainian drivers

The Development of Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Ministry, in collaboration with relevant associations and carriers, has opened a crisis headquarters to assist Ukrainian drivers stranded at the Poland border for over 10 days.

The primary objective is to provide drivers with essential supplies such as food, drinking water, medications, and fuel, said Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Infrastructure Minister.

The queues toward Yahodyn, Rava-Ruska, and Krakovets have stretched over 30 km, over 10 km, and over 16 km, respectively, said Kubrakov.

Read also: Ukrainian truck driver died while waiting at blockaded Polish border

Polish carriers have enforced a blockade of truck traffic at the three largest border crossing points with Ukraine since Nov. 6, citing demands to reinstate the permit system for Ukrainian cargo transportation.

Additional requests include restrictions on the movement of Ukrainian companies across Europe, prohibition of registering companies in Poland with finances outside the EU, the introduction of separate queues for vehicles with EU numbers, a separate line for empty trucks at all borders, and access to the Ukrainian Road system for volunteers and long-haul drivers.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine