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Massive Protests by Polish and Hungarian Farmers

On Feb. 11, video footage from a Polish farmers’ association made the rounds, showing protesters opening the tailboards of three Ukrainian trucks, causing part of the grain cargo to spill out. The incident reportedly took place on Polish territory at the Dorohusk border crossing. The Ukrainian Ambassador to Warsaw Wassyl Swaritsch called on Polish authorities to intervene, and the mayor of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, insulted Polish farmers, writing on Telegram yesterday: “Ukrainians are literally watering the fields where this grain grows with their blood. Harvesting wheat on a field where a war has taken place is like the work of a deminer.” Sadovyi called the Polish farmers “pro-Russian provocateurs.” There are already around 1,200 Ukrainian trucks jammed on the Polish side alone trying to cross into Ukraine, and a similar number of Ukrainian trucks waiting for passage to Poland as well.

In Hungary, around 1,000 farmers with hundreds of vehicles also demonstrated on Feb. 9, near the Hungarian-Ukrainian border at Záhony, to protest against the European Commission’s decision to extend the unlimited import of Ukrainian agricultural products by one year. They charged the EU Commission with working for the foreign latifundistas in Ukraine, who produce at low costs with which Hungarian farmers cannot compete. The Commission’s policies are seen as not having much to do with help for Ukraine in this war, but rather as a continuation of decades of Brussels’ acting against the family farmer and for the huge agro-conglomerates. The Hungarian farmers also urged their colleagues in the rest of the EU to keep the protest and pressure on the Commission to change policies.