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12 Feb, 2024 12:46

Polish farmers are ‘pro-Russian’ – Ukrainian mayor

The official made the claim after protesters dumped grain from vehicles trying to enter Poland
Polish farmers are ‘pro-Russian’ – Ukrainian mayor

Protesting Polish farmers, who offloaded grain from Ukrainian trucks onto a road near the countries’ shared border, are acting in Russia’s interest, Andrey Sadovoy, the mayor Lviv, has claimed.

The incident happened on Sunday outside the Dorohusk checkpoint, which is being blocked by demonstrators, Polish police spokeswoman Eva Chyzh said.

According to Chyzh, three trucks driven by Ukrainian citizens crossed into Poland, but were prevented by the farmers from moving any further.

“At one point, they [the protesters] opened the trailers, causing some of the grain to spill onto the road,” she said.

The trucks then returned to Ukraine, the spokeswoman stressed, adding that there was no physical contact or other “dangerous situations” between the drivers and the farmers.

An investigation has been launched into the incident, with the officers questioning witnesses and establishing the identities of the persons involved, Chyzh added.

Sadovoy, who took to Telegram on Monday, labeled the protesting Polish farmers “pro-Russian provocateurs.” The dumping of the grain was a “mean and shameful” act, he stressed.

“Ukrainians are literally watering the fields that give birth to this grain with their blood. Harvesting wheat in a field that has seen war is like working as a mine-clearer,” the mayor of Lviv, located near the Polish border, explained.

Polish truckers and farmers started their blockade of key checkpoints on the Ukrainian border in early October in protest against the EU’s decision to exempt their Ukrainian counterparts from having to seek permits to enter the bloc. They argued that measures introduced after the outbreak of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev led to unfair competition and drove down the prices of agricultural produce.

The blockade was lifted a month ago after the government gave in to the demands of the protesters, which included reinstating a permit system for Ukrainian truckers, adopting government subsidies for Polish corn, and a moratorium on tax hikes.

However, last week the blockade of the border crossing resumed. “We have no other choice,” Marcin Wilgos, an organizer of the action in Dorohusk, told AFP on Friday. The flow of Ukrainian goods, which are produced without compliance with EU standards and procedures, is too much of a burden for the Polish agricultural sector, he insisted.

Also on Friday, the Polish farmers followed the example of their colleagues from France, Germany and the Netherlands and disputed traffic in many cities and towns across the country with their tractors, decrying not only cheap Ukrainian produce, but also the EU’s green policies.

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