CZ/SK verze

Polish Farmers Announce Major Border Blockade in Unprecedented Strike

Polish Farmers Announce Major Border Blockade in Unprecedented Strike
photo: Rafał Mekler / Twitter/Polish protesters poured Ukrainian grain from trucks
16 / 02 / 2024

Starting on 20 February 2024, Polish farmers plan to completely block all checkpoints on the Polish-Ukrainian border as part of their protest. This action will include, in addition to border crossings, communication hubs, and railway station entrances.

According to the Polish agrarian union Solidarity (Solidarność), farmers have announced a general strike lasting 30 days, receiving "unprecedented support from the entire agricultural community and society." The decision follows previous months of protests, during which protesters blocked roads near Ukrainian-Polish border crossings to decrease the number of Ukrainian trucks entering Poland. The farmers protest against the pressure from foreign dumping resulting from the uncontrolled influx of Ukrainian goods caused by the opening of the EU border to Ukraine after Russia's full-scale military invasion, nearing its two-year mark on 24 February.

TASR / Public domain

"Therefore, In connection with this, for February 20th, as part of the 30-day general strike of farmers, we announce that all protest actions will be focused on a complete blockade of all Poland's border crossings with Ukraine and protests in the field," the union stated. "Not only border crossings will be blocked, but also transport hubs and access roads to railway transshipment stations and seaports."

The Polish protesters also called on the public to support farmers, emphasizing that the protest aims to ensure the country's food security "by providing healthy and high-quality Polish food to the public."

In early February, Polish protesters deliberately destroyed Ukrainian grain by scattering it on the road near the Ukrainian-Polish border, which caused a stir and was strongly condemned by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine.

"We understand when Polish farmers defend their interests in a civilized manner. However, this case of destruction of Ukrainian wheat has nothing to do with peaceful protests from either a legal or moral point of view," the Ministry stated on its Facebook page, reminding that Russian military aggression has been forcing Ukrainian farmers to work under continuous enemy fire for two years, often obtaining this grain at the cost of their own lives. "The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food invites Polish farmers to Ukraine to see the conditions in which Ukrainian farmers are currently working. 4 million small farmers in Ukraine are ready to share their experience with their Polish colleagues," they added.

In his turn, Polish Minister of Agriculture Czeslaw Sekerski said that the protesters failed to handle their emotions being in a "very difficult economic situation" and apologized for the incident.