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Polish minister apologizes for harassment of Ukrainian grain shipments

Polish farmers dumped grain from Ukrainian trucks during protests on February 11
Polish farmers dumped grain from Ukrainian trucks during protests on February 11

Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski issued an apology after a group of Polish farmers had spilled Ukrainian grain on the border between the two countries.

Read also: Polish farmers lift blockade at major Ukraine border crossing after truck traffic halted

The minister described the situation as "tense" and deemed the farmers' actions as "the wrong form of protest, but one often used by farmers in different countries."

"The farmers did not hold back their emotions, but it is worth remembering that they are in a very difficult economic situation,” a Feb. 12 message on the ministry’s website quotes Siekierski.

“At the spring approaches, they have no money to buy fertilizers and start planting. It's hard not to understand their desperation. I am a supporter of dialogue and direct conversations as the best form of solving difficult problems."

Read also: Man in critical condition after Russia targets agricultural storage facilities in Mykolaiv Oblast

Warsaw is engaged in technical negotiations with Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry to establish trade terms that would limit the flow of goods "that disrupt the stability of agricultural markets," the minister said.

Read also: Ukrainian Ambassador urges strong response to Polish farmers’ ‘shameful and offensive’ grain spillage

Regarding the Ukrainian government officials' reaction to the spilled grain, the minister characterized it as "harsh and emotional," but expressed understanding for the dissatisfaction with export difficulties.

"Polish farmers have helped Ukraine and want to continue helping," Siekierski adds.

"However, they would like the Ukrainian budget and small farmers to benefit from this aid—not oligarchs who have huge swaths of land to grow grain and other types of agricultural products. They are mainly behind this large import [of Ukrainian grain], which destabilizes European food markets."

Read also: Polish farmers resume protests, block key Ukraine border crossings

Polish protesters near the Dorohusk checkpoint on the border with Ukraine damaged Ukrainian trucks and threw grain out of them on Feb. 11. According to the reports, there were three tons of grain spilled from each damaged truck.

On Feb. 12, Polish police launched an investigation of the incident.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine