Czeslaw Siekierski, Poland’s Minister of Agriculture, has apologized for the dumping of Ukrainian grain on the road by Polish farmers protesting at the border between the two countries. “ An act of desperation » which angered the Ukrainians.
“ On behalf of farmers PolishI apologize for such an act of desperation and ask for understanding for their extremely difficult situation », Declared Minister Czeslaw Siekierski in a press release, released on the evening of Monday February 12. “ This is not the right form of protest, but it is often used by farmers in different countries “, he continued about the incident which occurred on Sunday February 11.
Polish farmers who have been blocking several crossing points on the border with Poland since FridayUkraine had stopped a truck carrying Ukrainian grain and dumped its cargo. They were protesting against what they perceive as unfair competition from their Ukrainian counterparts, who are not subject to heavy European regulations. This unprecedented action caused a wave of indignation in Ukraine, a country with a strong agricultural tradition that has been facing the Russian invasion for two years and where millions of people died in 1932 – 1933, during the Great Famine (Holodomor) organized by the Stalinist regime. Ukrainian authorities described this incident as “ unacceptable » and demanded from Warsaw to “ to punish » the authors while the national economy was hit hard by the Russian invasion.
One of the largest grain exporters in the world, Ukraine has notably seen its agricultural sector transformed with a large part of agricultural land rendered unusable by the war and its exports via the Black Sea first entirely blocked, then partially restored. The Polish prosecutor’s office announced on Monday that it had “ opened an investigation » on violation of customs security and destruction of property, offenses punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Poland has been among Ukraine’s biggest supporters since the Russian invasion in February 2022, but their relations have been poisoned in recent months by trade disputes. These new protests come a few weeks after the end of a similar blockade of the border by Polish truckers. This Tuesday, February 13 in the morning, Polish farmers maintained an almost total blockade for trucks at five border crossing points, said Ukrainian border guard spokesperson Andriï Demchenko, quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine agency. . “There are about 1,250 trucks in the queues,” he said.
Read alsoAnger of Polish farmers: Warsaw opens investigation after destruction of Ukrainian grain