May 23 – Ukraine and Poland on Sunday agreed to set up joint border customs control and work on a joint railway company to ease passenger movement and boost Ukraine’s export potential.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Polish President Andrzej Duda called for increased cooperation between the countries at a meeting in Kyiv on Sunday, with Duda offering Warsaw’s support for the embattled neighbour. Continue reading
“The Polish-Ukrainian border should unite, not divide,” Duda told lawmakers as he became the first foreign leader to personally address Ukraine’s parliament since invading Russia on Feb. 24. Continue reading
Zelenskyy described the joint border control as “revolutionary”.
“This will significantly speed up the border procedures,” said Zelenskyy in his nightly video speech after Duda’s visit.
Most Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war entered the European Union through border crossings in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Poland has granted over 3 million Ukrainians the right to live and work and entitlement to social benefits. Continue reading
Infrastructure Minister of Ukraine Oleksander Kubrakov said that the two neighbors are working to facilitate the transportation of Ukrainian goods to the European Union.
“We are also working on establishing a joint-venture railway company to increase the export potential of Ukraine’s economy,” Kurbakov said in a statement.
The war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and corn, has sent global prices skyrocketing.
Almost 25 million tons of grain are stuck in Ukraine and cannot leave Ukraine due to infrastructure problems. Ukraine used to export most of its goods through seaports, but since the Russian invasion it has been forced to export by train or through its small ports on the Danube. Continue reading
Zelenskyy also said that joint customs control could make it easier for the country to join the EU.
“It is also the beginning of our integration into the common customs area of the European Union,” he said.
The European Commission is due to issue a report in June on whether to accept Ukraine’s application for EU membership, which is likely to be a lengthy process that is already causing disagreements within the bloc
Reporting by Maria Starkova in Lviv; writing in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Edited by Michael Perry