WARSAW: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday the government was mulling a “temporary” closure of the border with Ukraine for goods, amid tensions over low-priced Ukrainian grain.

“We are talking with the Ukrainian side about a temporary closure of the border, the cessation in general of trade,” Tusk told reporters.

“I will also discuss this with Polish farmers tomorrow. This solution would only be temporary … and mutually painful,” he added.

Polish farmers have been blocking border crossings with Ukraine and other highways to protest at what they say is unfair competition from goods entering the Polish market from their war-torn neighbour.

Use Russian asset profits to arm Ukraine: EU chief

“I am prepared to take even a firm decision when it comes to the border with Ukraine, always in consultation with Kyiv, so that there won’t be any unnecessary tensions between Warsaw and Kyiv,” Tusk said.

“But we have to find a long-term solution.”

Russia has blocked crucial Black Sea trade routes used by Ukraine to export its farm produce.

In a bid to help Kyiv economically after the Russian invasion, the European Union decided in 2022 to drop tariffs on Ukrainian goods transiting the 27-nation bloc by road.

But logistical problems mean much of Ukraine’s cereal exports has accumulated in EU-member Poland, undercutting local producers.

Poland’s ties with Ukraine have become increasingly strained over the border blockades and the grain dispute, with at least four incidents of Polish farmers spilling Ukrainian grain from lorries and freight trains.

On Sunday, eight train carriages carrying Ukrainian corn were prised open and tonnes of grain spilled onto rail tracks.

Kyiv urged Warsaw to put an end to “impunity” over the “acts of vandalism”.


200 characters