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Polish farmers suspend blockade at the Ukrainian border after government deal

The blockade had been ongoing since November
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Polish farmers who had blockaded a border crossing to Ukraine ended their protest after reaching an agreement with the government that met their demands, Poland’s state news agency PAP reported Jan. 6, 2023. Ukrainian truck drivers wait to cross from Poland back into Ukraine in Korczowa, Poland, on Thursday Dec. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl Ritter)

Polish farmers who had blockaded a border crossing to Ukraine ended their protest after reaching an agreement with the government that met their demands, Poland’s state news agency PAP reported Saturday.

The frustration of the farmers was one of the challenges facing the new Polish government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, which seeks to support Ukraine while also addressing the demands of Polish farmers and truckers whose livelihoods have been hurt by the war.

Since November, both farmers and truckers have been blockading border crossings, threatening the flow of some aid going into Ukraine.

Polish farmers complain that imports of Ukrainian foods have caused prices to fall, hurting their incomes, while truckers say they are being undercut by their Ukrainian counterparts.

The truckers are continuing their protest, creating queues of many kilometers at serveral border crossings. This week truckers had to wait over two days before they could cross.

Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski signed an agreement Saturday with a farmers group called Deceived Village and Teresa Kubas-Hul, a leader of the Podkarpackie region, which borders Ukraine. Under the deal, the farmers agreed to suspend their protest at the Medyka border crossing.

The deal states that the agriculture minister accepted the demands of the farmers, who sought a corn production subsidy of 1 billion Polish zlotys ($250 million), a lower agricultural tax and preferential liquidity loans, PAP reported.

The demands are to be implemented after the legislative process is completed and the necessary approvals from the European Union are obtained, PAP reported.

The Associated Press

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