Ukrainian Drivers on Polish Border Prepare to Go On Hunger Strike

Friday, 1 December 2023

After waiting for more than two weeks to cross the Polish-Ukrainian border at the Korczowa-Krakowiec checkpoint, Ukrainian drivers have announced that they are preparing to go on hunger strike.

As reported by Radio Liberty, Roman Vlasiuk, an international truck driver, said that yesterday there was an agreement that the Polish hauliers would allow seven cars through per hour, but after 22:00 the agreement was broken and drivers were once again allowed to pass through at a rate of one car per hour.

"Our demands are to let through one exit all the cars that were supposed to go last night according to the ‘7 cars per hour’ agreement, and also to increase the number to 14 cars per hour in the future. If our conditions are not met, we will officially declare a hunger strike. We are refusing any aid from volunteers. We are switching to just water and tea," he said.

One of the drivers told the news programme TSN, in a report from the scene: "We have announced a hunger strike until they accept our conditions."

Vlasiuk said that around two hundred Ukrainian drivers near the Korczowa checkpoint were surrounded by local police as they went to talk to the Polish protesters.

"We were blocked in the middle of the field. There are about 200 of us drivers here. The police said gatherings of such large numbers of people are not allowed according to their laws. They are fully armed with cylinders, tear gas and pepper spray. Now we have 2,000 trucks blocked in Korczowa alone; that is, 2,000 export vehicles are waiting to enter Ukraine," the driver said.

He also said that yesterday the Polish Transport Inspectorate started fining Ukrainian drivers for disrupting the work schedule.

Earlier, Ukraine's State Border Guard Service reported that as of Friday morning, about 2,100 freight vehicles were waiting to enter Ukraine at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Polish hauliers began their protest on 6 November, demanding that the EU, among other things, reinstate the permit system for Ukrainian drivers entering the EU.

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