Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossing

First empty lorries pass through new Ukraine crossing at Polish border

First empty lorries pass through new Ukraine crossing at Polish border
An aerial photo made with a drone shows trucks standing in a queue at the Polish-Ukrainian border at the Polish-Ukrainian border in Hrebenne, southeastern Poland, 27 November 2023. Trucks waiting to get into Ukraine at the Hrebenne border crossing have to wait in long queues due to a blockade by Polish lorry drivers at the Dorohusk and Hrebenne border crossings, south-eastern Poland, in protest over what they see as unfair competition from Ukrainian road haulage companies. EPA-EFE/Wojtek Jargilo POLAND OUT

KYIV, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The first 30 empty lorries passed through the newly opened Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossing on the Ukrainian-Polish border, which Kyiv hopes will unblock main land corridors amid protests by Polish drivers, Ukraine's border service said on Monday.

Those protests, over what Polish truckers see as unfair competition from their Ukrainian peers, started on Nov. 6, with four border crossings now under blockade.

Polish hauliers’ main demand is to stop Ukrainian truckers having permit-free access to the European Union, something that Kyiv and Brussels say is impossible. Free passage of empty Polish lorries across the border was one of the demands.

“As of the morning of December 4, border guards cleared 30 heavy vehicles with a total permissible weight of more than 7.5 (metric) tons for departure from Ukraine at the Uhryniv checkpoint,” the service said on Telegram messaging app.

The crossing was opened at 1.00 a.m. (midnight GMT) on Monday for empty trucks.

Ukraine said last week it had agreed some measures with Poland that could ease the pressure at the blockaded border crossings, but that the main demands of the protests had not been discussed.

“As a result of lengthy negotiations, we reached this decision together with @MI_GOV_PL,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said late on Sunday on the X social media platform.

“The ultimate goal of the work is to unblock the border, which has been blocked for a month on the Polish side and has critical consequences for the economies of both countries and the European market,” he said.

A senior Ukrainian official last week said protests on the border could cost Kyiv one percentage point of GDP growth if they drag on.

Ukrainian ambassador to Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, told the state-run Ukrinform news agency that Kyiv would continue negotiations with the Polish government and had already found “common ground and compromises”.

“And we hope that these proposals that we have developed together with the Polish government will be enough for the protesters to end the protest,” Zvarych added.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)


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