Slovakia’s border crossing with Ukraine was blocked by a group of Ukrainian truckers on Tuesday, according to police and media reports. However, the Slovakian truckers’ union distanced itself from the blockade, claiming it was only one truck. The union supports their Polish counterparts who are trying to limit the number of Ukrainian trucks entering the EU.
Last week, Slovak truckers staged a symbolic brief blockade of the main border crossing to show their support for their Polish counterparts. But they said they would wait for negotiations before taking further steps. Miloslav Tokar of the Slovak border police stated that the truckers blocked the border crossing at noon and were only allowing a limited number of Ukrainian trucks to cross. The Slovak News Agency TASR reported that a single truck blocked the Vysna Nemecka crossing on Tuesday, citing the Slovak transport union UNAS.
Ukrainian customs announced on Telegram that “unknown persons” had blocked cargo traffic without any warning. However, they added that Ukraine had not received any official information from the Slovak side about what caused the blockade or when it would end. Ukraine and Poland discussed blockades on the border last week but made no progress. On Sunday, Ukrainian authorities announced that about 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks, including those carrying fuel and humanitarian aid, were stuck on the Polish side of the border due to restrictions imposed by Poland in response to concerns about national security and health risks related to COVID-19 variants from Ukraine.
The situation has been tense between Ukraine and its neighbors since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Countries like Poland have imposed restrictions on goods coming from Ukraine in an effort to protect domestic industries and prevent potential health risks associated with COVID-19 variants from Ukraine.
However, this has also put pressure on Ukrainian carriers who rely heavily on exports to countries within Europe such as Poland and Slovakia. As a result of these restrictions, Polish and Slovak carriers have been calling for a relaxation of permit requirements for Ukrainian trucks.
In response to this situation, some Ukrainian truckers have decided to take matters into their own hands by blocking border crossings in an effort to draw attention to their plight and call for change in policy.
The exact cause behind this latest blockade is unclear but it is clear that tensions remain high between Ukraine and its neighbors over issues related to trade restrictions and national security concerns. It remains uncertain whether this situation will escalate further or whether both sides will be able to reach an agreement that addresses everyone’s needs while maintaining public safety concerns.