Ukraine blocks rail transit to Poland from China and Russia

Kiev displaying a lack of pragmatism as Estonia can provide alternative routes to EU as regional tensions mount
The inconsistent approach by Ukraine to its international obligations has taken another strange turn with it blocking rail shipments transiting the country from entering Poland. This has come at a time when Ukraine is reaching out to the EU and United States to assist with diplomacy as concerns perceived threats from Russia.

Poland’s state railway operator claims that its Ukrainian counterpart has been blocking rail shipments to the country for weeks in an “unprecedented” move. It notes that Poland is the only country targeted and argues that the decision breaches international trade agreements.

Andrzej Olszewski from the board of Polish State Railways (PKP), a state company, said on Tuesday (January 18) that supply chains through Ukraine have been blocked since 30 November 2021 because of the ban. He said PKP was “struggling” with its operations on the Polish-Ukrainian border and was unsure how long the situation would last.

The decision by Ukrainian Railways (UZ) reportedly blocks all shipments sent from 15 countries, including China, Russia, and Kazakhstan, to Poland with transit through Ukraine.

Kiev has claimed that the situation has resulted from renovation work on the railways. It also says that Poland has not been taking back empty wagons as required, leading to them “accumulating on the Ukrainian side”. The news comes shortly after Ukraine itself accused Poland,​ Kiev’s second largest trade partner of violating their free trade agreement by rejecting Kiev’s request to expand freight permits.

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