Ukraine protests destruction of grain exports by Polish farmers

Farmers continue to protest that cheap grain imports, mandated by the European Union, are hurting them, despite financial support.

Farmers protest outside the European Commission offices in Bucharest, Romania over the effect of cheap grain imports from Ukraine [Reuters]Published On 12 Feb 202412 Feb 2024

Ukraine has condemned what it called the “destruction” of its grain by protesting Polish farmers amid a long-running spat over imports of cheap grain.

The agriculture ministry said on Monday said Kyiv “strongly condemns the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian grain by Polish protesters”.

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With Russia’s invasion limiting Ukraine’s grain exports via the Black Sea, Brussels mandated tariff-free access to European Union markets. However, farmers in eastern member states have complained that the imports undercut them.

Kyiv’s anger follows the emergence of images and videos online showing demonstrators on the border between Ukraine and Poland dumping grain from trucks onto the road in a show of protest.

Polish truckers and farmers have been staging protests at multiple border crossings with the neighbouring country for several months.

They have expressed anger towards EU officials, demanding they scrap rules that allow cheap Ukrainian grain to enter the bloc.

The acceptance of the cheap Ukrainian grain is part of policies adopted by the bloc to support Kyiv’s economy amid the ongoing war with Russia, but protesters have said this has harmed their livelihoods.

Despite having been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters amid the Russian invasion, Poland – as well as several other countries in the region, such as Romania – imposed temporary bans last year on imports of Ukrainian grain.

The EU has condemned such measures, instead offering financial assistance to help make up for the losses.

But some farmers have remained defiant, using their tractors to block border crossings and destroying grain.

After launching its invasion two years ago, Moscow initially blocked shipping routes from Black Sea ports to stall Ukrainian vessels from transporting grain and other agricultural products.

The blockade eventually ended, but the war has had a significant impact on grain supplies across the world, with both Russia and Ukraine major exporters.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies