Ukrainian nationalists block Russian truck transit to EU

By bne IntelliNews February 15, 2016

Ukrainian nationalist movements have launched a campaign to block Russia-registered cargo trucks from transiting through the country to Europe, demanding that Kyiv impose similar measures at a government level against the "aggressor state".

As of February 14, nationalists began trying to block roads in all  regions of West Ukraine, local media reported. Initiators of the blockade targetted roads connecting Ukraine with Slovakia, Poland and Belarus.

The move follows last November's campaign by Ukrainian nationalists and Tatar activists to cut off Ukrainian electricity supplies to the Russian-held Crimean peninsula. In a series of tit-for-tat measures, official and otherwise, a Russian food embargo against Ukraine was also imposed from January 1 in protest at the EU-Ukraine free trade pact entering force the same day.

The blockade follows the suspension of cargo transit between Russia and Poland caused by Warsaw's suspension of its transit agreement with Moscow on February 1 due to inability to agree with Russia on the number of licenses for bilateral cargo transport haulage. As a result, Russian trucks began using alternative routes, including through Ukraine.

According to the Ukrinform news agency, Transcarpathian activists, who were first to start the blockade in the regional capital Uzhhorod, lobbied the regional governor to visit Kyiv and demand that the government officially ban Russian transit through Ukraine.

"The number of trucks outside the Transcarpathian roadblock has dropped. Truck drivers pass information about the blockade by radio to each other, which is why the Russian trucks are not heading here. [...] Our fellow activists in the Lviv, Rivne and Volyn regions have organised roadblocks," Ukrinform quoted an organiser of the blockade in Transcarpathia, Mykola Marchyshak, as saying.

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