Ukraine President Zelenskyy invites Polish leaders to resolve farmers’ protests

Kyiv [Ukraine], February 22 (ANI): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited Polish leaders to a meeting at their shared border to resolve a blockade by Polish farmers protesting against Ukrainian food imports, Al Jazeera reported.

Zelenskyy said on social media that he hoped the proposed border meeting for him, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and a European Union representative could happen before the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

“This is national security,” Zelenskyy said. “I am ready to be at the border with our government.”

“We have had enough misunderstanding. We should not humiliate each other; we should not humiliate either Ukrainian or Polish farmers. We need unity. We need solutions – between us, Ukraine and Poland, and at the level of the whole of Europe,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.

However, there has been no immediate reaction from the Polish government, as reported by Al Jazeera.

In another incident, Zelenskyy expressed concerns after a banner at the protest site displayed support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Polish authorities also voiced concern over the slogans praising Putin and his war against Ukraine.

Earlier, Poland’s Foreign Ministry said it believed that extreme groups were trying to take over the protest movement “perhaps under the influence of Russian agents.”

It also called on protest organisers “to identify and eliminate from their movement” the initiators, arguing it was necessary for Poland’s interest.

Notably, Poland, a member of NATO and the European Union has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion, accepting unlimited numbers of refugees and providing Ukraine with weaponry.

But tensions have been growing as Polish farmers blame imports of Ukrainian grain and other food for pushing down prices and harming their livelihoods.

Polish farmers are among those across Europe who have been protesting competition from Ukraine as well as European Union environmental policies, which they say will increase their production costs, Al Jazeera reported.

On Tuesday, the farmers staged a major day of protest, blocking almost all traffic on the border with Ukraine, angering Kyiv, in an escalation from previous demonstrations.

Polish farmers blocked eight major roads on Wednesday. Police said protests continued at border crossings to Ukraine in Medyka and Korczowa, but passenger traffic was smooth and some trucks were also being let through.