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Farmers in Poland have been disrupting traffic with nationwide blockades as part of their ongoing protests against Ukrainian grain imports, which they claim are affecting their profits, World Grain reported.

Meanwhile, Ukraine says the move impacts its efforts against Russia’s invasion, according to the 20 February report.

Protesters at the Medyka border crossing were seen opening railway carriages to allow grain to pour onto the tracks in a video shared on the Telegram messaging app, World Grain wrote.

Farmers across Europe have been demonstrating over several issues, including rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from imports.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 22 February 2022, Ukrainian farmers have faced difficulty in producing and exporting grain and oilseeds and attempts have been made to export more via rail and truck to counter transport difficulties via the Black Sea.

In June 2022, as part of its efforts to help Ukraine, the European Union (EU) waived import duties on Ukrainian grain.

Until mid-September last year, the EU had allowed five countries – Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflowerseeds, while allowing them to transit for export elsewhere.

Poland had been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies during the war and the country’s new pro-European government had expressed sympathy for its farmers’ demands but had also urged them not to take action that could damage Ukraine’s war effort, the report said.

A spokesman for Poland’s Solidarity farmers’ union was quoted as saying that while military aid for Ukraine would be allowed through, all passenger traffic on the border would be blocked, not just trucks. In addition, ports and motorways would also be blockaded.

However, Ukraine has said its agricultural shipments through Eastern Europe had not affected markets, World Grain wrote.

Against this backdrop, Ukrainian haulers had started their own round-the-clock counter-demonstrations – planned to last until 15 March – at three crossings.

Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski had previously been quoted as saying he was negotiating with Ukraine and that a deal limiting imports could be reached by the end of March, the report said.