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Polish truckers halt blockade at Ukraine border crossing

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Protests blockading a key border crossing between Ukraine and Poland have halted, officials in Kyiv said Sunday, amid a long-running standoff with Polish farmers over imports of cheap grain.

In a statement, the Ukrainian authorities said that “truck traffic has been restored” after “Polish farmers finished the blockade of the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing point” along the highway that links the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine to Poland’s Kraków. “Registration and entry of trucks to Ukraine is going ahead normally. Border guards are working together with customs officers to ensure that as many trucks as possible cross the border.”

Polish truckers and farmers have been staging protests at four border crossings with the neighboring Eastern European country since November. The Polish protesters want the EU to scrap rules that allow cheap Ukrainian grain to enter the bloc as part of measures designed to support Kyiv’s economy.

On Monday, the demonstrators resumed their sit-in at the Dorohusk-Jagodzin crossing after a court in the country overturned an order from the government banning the protests. As part of the ruling, the group will be allowed to continue their action until at least March 8.

Poland celebrates Christmas on December 24 with the festival of Wigilia, and it is unclear whether demonstrations will be resumed at Medyka-Shehyni after the holidays.

Kyiv has repeatedly denounced the protests, which it says are harming its ability to defend against Russian aggression.

“The level of exports from Ukraine fell by 40 percent in November due to the blockade,” Danylo Hetmantsev, head of the finance, tax and customs policy committee in the Ukrainian parliament, said earlier this month.

“Every penny we collect now goes to the army, as we currently do not finance anything except the army through taxes. [So] that is the money not received by the army.”

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