After the European Union imposed the latest set of sanctions on the Russian Federation for its attack on Ukraine, Russia and its key ally Belarus are facing problems in the region. It has been reported that a huge line of trucks has formed at the Polish-Belarusian border as Russian and Belarusian truckers try to escape before a ban on their vehicles comes into effect. The EU has given trucks until April 16 to leave the bloc and the trucks are still stuck. The line grew to 80 kilometers in the days leading up to Saturday’s deadline, with some people stuck until 13 p.m.
It comes as the EU has banned Russian and Belarusian truckers from entering or staying in the bloc, except those transporting medicine, mail or petroleum products. The move is part of a broader set of sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Long lines remained as the midnight deadline approached. A Belarusian driver said he still had many miles to go and that was not realistic, according to the BBC. It is unclear what will happen to the tens of thousands of other vehicles from both countries that are currently on EU soil. It is possible that they will be apprehended by national officials.
Some drivers stay in the direction of the border for more than 30 hours.
The queue already stretches for about 80 km. pic.twitter.com/MDakEoNBh3
– NEXT (@nexta_tv) April 17, 2022
“Such a decision could lead to similar measures being taken against Polish vehicles”
A Polish official representing transport organizations criticized the move and expressed concern that such a move could lead to similar measures being taken against Polish vehicles returning home via Russia and Belarus. Earlier, Jan Buczek, chairman of the Polish ZMPD, a trade organization for Polish transport groups, said there was no chance Belarusian and Russian trucks would all be out of Poland by the deadline. Long queues have also been reported at border crossing sites in Lithuania and Latvia, according to The Energy Bulletin.
The fate of the trucks stuck at the border remains unknown. Thousands of vehicles may not cross the border in time, putting them at risk of being seized by national authorities. Since last year’s migration crisis at its borders with the EU last winter, a crossing point between Poland and Belarus at Kuznica has been closed.
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