Polish farmers to suspend protest at Ukraine border, truckers stay on

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish farmers will suspend a protest at the border crossing with Ukraine at Medyka from Sunday, but truckers will continue blockades at three other crossings over Christmas and will allow even fewer trucks to pass than earlier, they said on Saturday.

Polish drivers have been blocking several crossings with Ukraine since Nov. 6, demanding the European Union reinstate a system whereby Ukrainian companies need permits to operate in the bloc, and the same for European truckers seeking to enter Ukraine.

They were later joined by farmers who demanded government subsidies for corn and no hikes in taxes.

Roman Kondrow, one of the leaders of the protesting farmers, said after talks with Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski that the protest in Medyka will be suspended from Sunday morning until Jan. 2 or 3, 2024, PAP news agency reported.

However, truckers said they would stay on the border over Christmas and will let through only one commercial truck every three hours, instead of three every hour.

“We are intensifying the protest, (allowing only) one truck every three hours,” said Edyta Ozygała, one of the leaders of the trucker’s protest in Dorohusk, told Reuters, adding that the transport of humanitarian help and military equipment were not being blocked.

Poland’s deputy infrastructure minister said on Friday after a meeting in Kyiv that he hoped truckers’ protests on the border with Ukraine could be resolved before the end of the year.

Polish truckers resumed their blockade of one of the main crossings at the Ukrainian border this week after a short break. According to data from Poland’s Customs office, the wait at the Dorohusk crossing was 77 hours on Saturday.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by David Holmes)