Ukraine wants Poland to punish grain-dumping protesters

Ukraine has demanded that Poland hold accountable those who attacked a Polish railway terminal and destroyed 160 tonnes of Ukrainian grain.

On Monday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov stated on X that Kyiv had submitted a letter to Warsaw urging the Polish authorities to identify and sanction the perpetrators.

“Impunity and irresponsibility” characterized the official’s assessment of the grain’s devastation at the train station amid demonstrations.

“Those responsible for the destruction of Ukrainian grain must be identified, neutralized, and punished,” Kubrakov wrote. “Two amicable civilized European states are interested in this.”

Ahead of schedule, the official had stated that 160 tonnes of grain had been deposited at the railway station in eastern Poland, close to Bydgoszcz, en route to other countries via the port of Gdansk. According to reports, this marked the fourth occurrence in recent weeks in which protesting Polish farmers leaked Ukrainian grain.

In recent weeks, Polish farmers have emerged as leaders of the extensive demonstrations begun by European farmers. However, for over a year, they have been engaging in protests against “unfair competition” originating from Ukraine.

In June 2022, the European Union implemented a trade defence measure consisting of the suspension of import duties, quotas, and tariffs on Ukrainian imports. This action was taken in response to the disruption of Ukrainian grain export routes caused by Russia’s conflict. Nevertheless, the influx of inexpensive grain originating from the east swiftly incited opposition among transporters and farmers in adjacent nations.

Strategic Dialogue Amidst Agricultural Tensions

Fuelled by the former nationalist administration that governed Poland until the previous year, transporters and farmers have obstructed highways and border crossings.

Similar to its counterparts in other European countries, the newly formed government in Warsaw has exhibited caution in addressing the concerns of farmers, ostensibly due to the possibility that a robust reaction to the demonstrations could benefit the far right ahead of the June elections for the European Parliament.

Ukraine wants Poland to punish grain-dumping protesters

A delegation from the Ukrainian administration travelled to the Polish border on Friday to discuss the ongoing protests.

Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister, stated that Kyiv had devised a five-step “strategic dialogue” to achieve a compromise that would benefit both nations.

“The blockade affects the economy and trade between Poland and Ukraine in their entirety. Not only does it harm Ukraine, but Polish entrepreneurs who annually export goods worth $12 billion to our market are also suffering as a result.”

The agreement between Ukraine and the European Commission to restrict exports of poultry, eggs, and sugar is outlined in the plan, which also includes an appeal to the EU to prohibit Russian agricultural exports.

Additionally, he stated that Kyiv is prepared to implement a verification system for exports of cereal, maize, sunflower, and rapeseed.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized the significance of maintaining strong ties between Kyiv and Poland. Nonetheless, he continued by stating that his nation stands prepared to protect companies harmed by the border blockades.

Protests Disrupt European Grain Trade

Andriy Demchenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian border service, predicted on television, “Unfortunately, the blockage continues.”

“There are a total of 2,200 lorries in queue on Polish soil, and [Polish] farmers are permitting multiple vehicles per hour to pass in both directions. Those lorries proceeding from Ukraine are even more obstructed,” he stated.

In addition to Poland, agriculturalists hailing from Germany, France, and Belgium have engaged in road blockades and demonstrations to voice their opposition to environmental regulations, foreign competition, increased expenses, and substandard produce.

Ukraine has stated that grain export restrictions have impacted its war effort and caused severe economic losses.

Tractors encircled the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Monday. Meanwhile, ministers met to reduce agricultural laws and red tape that has sparked bloc-wide protests.

Tyres were set on fire and pyrotechnics detonated in the street by farmers. The firefighters extinguished the flames with water cannons while the ministers deliberated concessions.

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