Tensions at the Polish-Ukrainian border have intensified as Polish truckers continue their blockade, causing a month-long standstill at several border crossings and obstructing the passage of trucks carrying patrol boats designated for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The boats, manufactured by SAFE Boats International and provided by the United States to Ukraine, have been halted by the truckers, citing dubious claims that these vessels are luxury yachts disguised as humanitarian aid.
Tomash Buchek, a member of the Confederation party and one of the blockade’s organizers, defended the delay of the boats, alleging that they were costly yachts attempting to enter under the guise of humanitarian assistance. Buchek made these claims on his X (formerly Twitter) account.
According to Pavel Kravchuk, an activist from the “Europe Without Barriers” NGO, members of the Confederation party specifically detained 27-foot patrol boats, a fact corroborated by the company itself. “SAFE Boats International provided … 27-foot Walk Around Cabin patrol boats for Ukraine as part of a US Government aid program. The vessels provided by SAFE Boats are intended for use as government patrol vessels and not intended for use as private yachts,” the company statement affirmed.
Kravchuk emphasized the dire consequences of the blockade, stating, “The Confederation not only inflicts severe economic losses on Ukraine but also directly blocks vital supplies. They’re impeding military cargoes.”
— Tomasz Buczek (@buczek_tomasz) December 1, 2023
The situation at the Polish-Ukrainian border is nearing a catastrophic level. Approximately 4,000 trucks remain stranded due to the three-week-long strike by Polish carriers, which has taken on overtly political and even pro-Russian tones.
Ukrainian long-haul drivers are essentially living in these queues. Responsible for the cargoes they carry, they cannot simply abandon their trucks. Polish police redirect trucks to large parking areas near roadsides, often in fields or forests without heating facilities or even basic amenities like toilets. Supplies for the drivers are depleting rapidly, forcing them to rely on locals living nearby. Unfortunately, two Ukrainian drivers have lost their lives in these queues. The case is under investigation by the Polish prosecutor’s office.