The Slovak border crossing with Ukraine was blocked by Ukrainian truckers on Tuesday, according to police and media reports. However, the Slovakian truckers’ union distanced itself from the blockade, claiming it was the work of only one truck. Slovak truckers are supporting their Polish counterparts who are trying to limit the number of Ukrainian trucks entering the EU. Last week, they staged a symbolic brief blockade of the main border crossing to show their support, but said they would wait for negotiations before taking further steps.
The Slovak News Agency TASR reported that a truck blocked the Vysna Nemecka crossing on Tuesday, citing the Slovak transport union UNAS. Union president Stanislav Skala told Reuters by phone that the union would wait for talks by EU, Polish, and Ukrainian officials before officially joining the blockades of Polish colleagues. Miloslav Tokar of the Slovak border police stated that the truckers blocked the border crossing at noon and were only letting a limited number of Ukrainian trucks cross.
Ukrainian customs announced on Telegram that “unknown persons blocked cargo traffic without any warning.” However, Ukraine had not received any official information from the Slovak side about why this happened or when it would end. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, about 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks were stuck on the Polish side of the border last week due to restrictions imposed by Poland and Lithuania in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The situation has been tense since then as both countries have struggled with how to balance protecting their economies while also supporting their neighbors amidst an ongoing conflict. The decision made by Slovakia to block access has sparked criticism from some quarters who see it as an act of hostility towards Ukraine rather than an attempt to protect their own interests.