Archive photo of the Polish-Ukrainian border (Photo by JøMa (CC))

UPDATED 17 JANUARY 2024 | Polish truck drivers paused their blockades of the borders with Ukraine until 1 March, after reaching a deal with the new Polish government. The government says it will level the playing field for the truck drivers.

(Text below unchanged after initial publication on 17 December 2023 “Polish judge overrules, truck drivers resume Ukrainian border blockades”)

On 17 December Polish truck drivers were resuming the blocking of border crossings for incoming Ukrainian colleagues. The Polish drivers fear for their livelihood as Ukrainian drivers work for less money and can transport through the entire European Union after the EU lifted the permit system for Ukrainian drivers after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Featured photo: The Polish-Ukrainian border some years ago (Photo by JøMa (CC))

Since Poland joined the EU in 2004, drivers in mostly western and northern European nations have made similar complaints about their colleagues in Eastern Europe.

The blockade by Polish truck drivers has caused massive jams at the four open border crossings with Ukraine, on the Ukrainian side of the border. The mayor of Polish Dorohusk ordered an end of the blockade on “his territory”, accusing the truck drivers of risking public order, but a judge in Lublin overruled him. The court’s decisions is that the drivers have the right to protest to highlight an unjust system, and as humanitarian and perishable goods are said to allow to pass there is no legal reason to stop the blockade.

The Polish truck drivers installed the blockades in the first half of November this year. Since then, three drivers on the Ukrainain side have died, where cold and the lack of food are a problem. However, doctors have established that at least the first two Ukrainian truck drivers that passed away, died of natural causes. The third died this weekend, and the cause is not yet published. | © 2023 Marcel Burger,