Ukraine moves first lorries to Poland by rail through blocked border

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine has transported the first batch of lorries to Poland by rail, bypassing the blockage of the land border between the two countries by Polish drivers, Ukrainian state railways Ukrzaliznytsia said on Sunday.

Protests by Polish truckers started last month against the terms of EU access for Ukrainian lorries. They blocked the main road corridors into Ukraine, leading to higher prices for fuel and some food items as well as delays to drone deliveries to the Ukrainian army.

“The truck consignment arrived in Poland by rail. The Ukrainian and Polish parties have agreed on all issues related to the transport and customs and border procedures,” Ukrzaliznytsia said on the Telegram messaging app.

“The trucks will continue to their destination by road,” it said, adding that the rail shipments would be made regularly using modernised platforms.

Ukrainian authorities say about 3,500 lorries are blocked on the Polish side of the Polish-Ukrainian border as of Sunday morning and so far authorities have not been able to reach an agreement with the protesters to stop the action.

The main demand of Polish hauliers is to stop Ukrainian truckers from having permit-free access to the European Union, something that Kyiv and Brussels say is not negotiable.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Ros Russell)