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Ukrainian drivers at Poland border plan hunger strike, ombudsman appeals to Warsaw

Ukrainian drivers at Poland border plan hunger strike, ombudsman appeals to Warsaw Photo: Dmytro Lubinets, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

Ukrainian drivers stranded at the Ukrainian-Polish border are contemplating a hunger strike due to the dire situation, says Dmytro Lubinets, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Since the beginning of November, the movement of cargo-carrying vehicles has been blocked at the checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Polish border," the statement said.

The ombudsman asserts that Ukrainian drivers find themselves in an alarming situation and are considering a hunger strike if the conditions do not improve.

He added that he has already contacted the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, and the Ombudsman of the Republic of Poland, Professor Marcin Wiecek. So far, he has not received a response from his Polish counterpart.

Initiative to establish an Aid Headquarters

Lubinets informed that they received a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on behalf of the Prime Minister of Ukraine.

"As it became known, the Ukrainian side has started preparations for the evacuation of drivers from the blocked border checkpoints in Poland. There is also an initiative to establish an Aid Headquarters to provide Ukrainian drivers with food, water, medicine, fuel, etc.," the ombudsman wrote.

In addition, the Ukrainian and Polish sides have agreed to increase the border crossing capacity and have reached agreements on a series of actions.

The situation needs a solution

"For today, the most important thing is to respect human rights in a democratic society. Such contradictions in relations between two friendly countries, Ukraine and Poland, should not be allowed," said Lubinets.

Firstly, this threatens the lives and health of people. Secondly, carriers may be held responsible for violating the border stay limit. Thirdly, this may lead to a crisis in Ukraine in various areas: economic, social, and military.

Blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine

Since November 6, Polish carriers have started a strike and blocked several checkpoints, including:

  • Yahodyn - Dorohusk

  • Krakivets - Korczowa

  • Rava-Ruska - Hrebenne

  • Shehyni - Medyka

Carriers have put forward demands, including:

  • Restoring permit relations with Ukraine.

  • Strengthening transport rules.

  • Prohibiting the registration of companies in Poland if their finances and accounting are outside the EU.

  • Access to the Ukrainian Shlyakh system.

  • Allocating separate queues for EU cars in the eQueue system.

  • Allocating separate queues for empty vehicles.

As the Deputy Minister for Communities, Territories Development and Infrastructure of Ukraine, Serhiy Derkach reported, the Polish government cannot unilaterally influence the agreement between Ukraine and the European Union on the liberalization of freight transport, despite being one of the protesters' demands.