Once you understand that Ukraine’s national hero, Stephan Bandera, was a Nazi war criminal that massacred Polish civilians, you realize that this friendship between the countries was never going to work.
However, at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Poland distinguished itself as one of the most dedicated allies, both in providing weapons and ammunitions, as well as receiving a large number of refugees fleeing combat zones.
The relationship soured when Poland decided to unilaterally renew the Ukrainian ‘grain ban’, a move that led Kiev to sue its neighbor at the World Trade Organization.
Ukraine’s ‘ungratefulness’ led the former Polish government to cease all military help, choosing to stand for its farmers, threatened by the influx of low-quality, cheap grain from the war-torn country.
The newly elected Donald Tusk government has vowed to rebuild the relationship with Kiev, and restart aid to fight the Russians – but in the meantime, the struggle had been taken over by various sectors of the society, such as farmers and truckers.
The Polish transport companies and truckers have been blocking the border checkpoints with Ukraine since November, seeking the return of permits for their trucks, a requirement the EU is currently waiving until June 30 – which they claim is unfair competitions with local carriers.
The farmers have also been involved in this demonstrations. Although a pause in the border blockade was held during the holydays, right now over 3,000 trucks are lined up at the border, as Ukrainian truckers face their third month of blockaded border crossings.
Polish farmers will today (4) resume their blockade of the Medyka border crossing with Ukraine, as Prime Minister Donald Tusk attempted to defuse the dispute.
The Polish farmers aim to secure government subsidies for corn and prevent tax hikes.
“A leader of the farmers’ protest in Medyka, Roman Kondrow, told PAP that although Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski had provided a note telling the farmers their demands would be met, the prime minister had not given a signed declaration.
‘We have not received written confirmation that our demands will be met, so we are continuing the protest’, he said, adding they would only allow one truck per hour pass through the crossing.”
Since early November, Polish truck drivers block several crossings, pressing for the European Union to require Ukrainian companies to obtain permits to operate in the bloc.
“‘I will try to convince carriers not to use blockades as a method of defending their interests. We will do everything to effectively protect their interests’, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said during a press conference.
‘The blockade in the face of bombings and increasingly intense actions from Russia does not make this task easier for us. I will be more effective in working in favour of Polish carriers when there is no blockade’.”
Tusk ‘believed’ in December that Poland was close to being able to end the truckers’ protest – but reality has not conformed to his belief.
The Kiev Post reported:
“’The blocking of the Rava-Ruska/Hrebenne, Krakivets/Korczowa, and Yahodyn/Dorohusk checkpoints continues’, Andriy Demchenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service told Ukrinform Tuesday. ‘According to the Polish border guards, as of this morning, 1,620 trucks are queuing in these three directions towards Ukraine’.”
While farmers did unblock the Shehyni-Medyka checkpoint during Christmas and New Year, the queue there is now reportedly 1,200 trucks long.
“Traffic at other borders isn’t blocked, however, there too, truckers they are seeing long queues because of all of the rerouted traffic.
As of Tuesday morning, 200 trucks were waiting to cross the border from Slovakia toward Ukraine at the Uzhhorod checkpoint. Some 420 trucks were waiting to cross the border from Romania towards Ukraine at the Porubne checkpoint.”