- Hundreds of Russian and Belarusian trucks were stuck in Poland this weekend while leaving the European Union.
- The EU banned haulers from the two countries from transporting goods in the bloc starting Saturday.
- On Friday, one checkpoint had a waiting time of up to 56 hours, the Financial Times reported, citing Polish data.
Russian and Belarusian trucks formed a massive queue this weekend near the Poland-Belarus border as hundreds of drivers rushed to leave the European Union before a ban on their vehicles went into effect on Saturday.
The long line on Saturday stretched 50 miles in Poland at one point, with some truckers waiting for up to 33 hours before they were processed, the BBC reported.
Drone footage from Reuters posted on Sunday showed a column of trucks stuck in traffic near the Kozlovichi border crossing on Saturday evening.
“We were driving from Serbia, we stood in a queue in Bobrowniki,” said a truck driver from Belarus named Dmitry in the same video. “But in Bobrowniki we were turned back and asked to go to Kozlovichi. That’s the situation. I’m driving with the load, I don’t know what is going to happen.”
The day before, some drivers were left waiting for up to 56 hours at the Bobrowniki checkpoint, The Financial Times reported, citing data from Poland’s National Revenue Administration.
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About 10,000 Russian and Belarusian vehicles were still in the EU ahead of the deadline, Aliaksandr Kuushynau, a senior executive at a GPS fleet-tracking company, told FT. The outlet reported that Lithuania and Latvia also saw long queues at their border crossings.
The EU has banned Russian and Belarusian trucks from carrying goods in the bloc as part of retaliatory sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine. However, haulers carrying food products, humanitarian aid, and energy have been exempted from the sanctions.
Hundreds of trucks remained in Poland on Sunday morning, when waiting times were reduced to 12 hours, the BBC reported. With the deadline passed, it’s not immediately clear what action these drivers may face, although their vehicles may be seized.
However, Jan Buczek, head of Poland’s Association of International Road Carriers, noted that at least 3,000 Polish trucks in Russia and Belarus may be at risk of retaliation from the two nations, per FT.
“We should look for a benign solution,” Buczek told the outlet. “Because any aggressive form of action by Europe against the Russian and Belarusian trucks at the border will instantly spark retaliation against our trucks that are on the way or coming back from markets like Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.”