02:33 GMT +327 February 2017
    Nationalist activists in Ukraine blockade Russian trucks

    Activists Trying to 'Blockade' Russian Trucks in Western Ukraine

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    After the failure of the radical activist-inspired Crimean food and electricity blockades, and the non-starter of its proposed 'naval' component, Ukrainian nationalists have begun an attempt to block Russian transport trucks heading to Europe through Western Ukrainian territory.

    Nationalist activists from the Western Ukrainian regions of Zakarpattia, Lviv and Volyn, as well as Rivne and Chernihiv in the north and southwest, have initiated a coordinated effort to block transport trucks with Russian registration numbers, and simply those carrying Russian-made goods, from crossing Ukraine's Western border into Europe.

    The 'blockade' began Thursday near the village of Nyzhni Vorota, about 100 km northeast of Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia, where militant activists set up a checkpoint, preventing about 75 Russian trucks heading to Slovakia and Hungary via Kiev from going through.

    "Ukrainian militants began a blockade against Russian trucks in Zakarpattia."​

    On Friday, the initiative was joined by members of the Right Sector paramilitary group, who quickly dubbed the campaign the 'Bear Blockade.'

    The campaign's organizers say that they will continue to block the passage of Russian trucks until Kiev officially recognizes Russia as an 'aggressor state' and bans transit on an official level.

    ​"From today, Russian trucks are being blocked in Volyn too."

    Local law enforcement, meanwhile, is reported to be quietly 'monitoring' the situation, refusing to take action. Speaking to local media, Transcarpathian Region police press secretary Galina Sernivka denied that Russian-registered trucks are being stopped, and added that the campaign is taking place safely, and in compliance with the law.

    Euromaidan Press "explains" the motivation for the blockade.​

    "It's noteworthy," independent Russian newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa writes, "that the nationalists unveiled their blockade on the day that Moscow and Kiev reached agreement on transit and exchanged temporary quotas." In January, countermeasures introduced by Moscow as part of a sanctions-countersanctions war with Kiev had prevented the transit of Ukrainian goods through Russia to Asia.

    The Ukrainian activists' 'blockade' follows on the suspension of cargo transit between Russia and Poland. On February 1, Warsaw suspended the agreement, following a disagreement with Moscow on the number of licenses issued for bilateral cargo transport haulage. As a result, Russian trucks had begun using alternative routes, including through Ukrainian territory.

    "Experts," the newspaper notes, "do not exclude the possibility that the Ukrainian nationalists are acting on the request of their 'Polish friends'. After all, the next round of negotiations between Moscow and Warsaw will be held on February 16, and the shutoff of virtually the entirety of freight traffic with continental Europe may very well be used as a bargaining chip."

    Speaking to the paper, Semyon Uralov, chief editor of the Russian internet newspaper Odnako,  said that "the struggle against the Russian truckers is nothing more than an excuse to establish 'private' customs posts," in other words, a racket.

    "We are dealing with the decomposition of Ukraine's statehood. The emergence of private customs offices is the first sign of this decomposition. It's worth remembering that the first such customs posts appeared in the Donbass [in Ukraine's civil war-torn southeast], where checkpoints controlled by various nationalist battalions were established to make money. Then the same thing began on the border with Crimea. All this was done under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. But in actuality it is just a sign of the feudalistic fragmentation into which Ukraine is sinking."

    Kiev, Uralov suggested, may be unable to control the situation even if it wanted to. "I will remind you that authorities in Kiev had already attempted to clean out Right Sector in Zakarpattia last summer," (an event which resulted in a shootout between Right Sector militants and Ukrainian police). "The current situation is of the same order."

    Ultimately, with Russian Deputy Transport Minister Nikolai Asaul saying of the Russian-Polish dispute that Russian trucks will be forced to charter ferries on the Baltic Sea to bypass Polish territory, Uralov suggested that Russia will also need to look for other ways to mitigate any effects of the makeshift Ukrainian 'blockade', including rail or container transport.

    For his part, Sergei Khrapach, the chairman of the Russian Mezhregionavtotrans  trucking association, noted that in this case, Kiev is not responding to what is clearly unlawful activity. In this situation, he says, Russian authorities could use the legal instrument of 'retortion' to retaliate. 

    "Our government could send Ukrainian authorities a formal note of protest. If they do not react, as is almost certain, Russia will have the right to apply its own measures against Ukrainian carriers, which will encourage the start of a dialogue."

    "Unfortunately," Khrapach noted, "Ukraine's leaders are prone to showing less and less common sense…Therefore, the situation is likely to develop along a negative scenario. In the end, consumers and producers are the ones who will pay for it all."


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    makeshift blockade, blockade, Right Sector, Russia, Poland, Europe, Ukraine
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    • Mikhas
      No jobs and no source of income, these Nazi clowns doesn´t seem to have better things to do. Like working for their families like the Novorossiyans f.ex.

      Well, maybe Nudelman & Pyatt and their tribe pay a little something for their efforts...
    • Huh?
      "Unfortunately," Khrapach noted, "Ukraine's leaders are prone to showing less and less common sense…

      Strange...I didn't know they started with any.
    • avatar
      The Russians could use an old trick, arming merchantmen. Just include a few tanks in each column, painted white , with a pro forma basket of humanitarian relief supplies on the hull. I wonder what a pirate border post would like after a Russian tank ran over it, accidentally of course?
    • avatar
      The US embassy in Kiev is behind this. They are just effete criminals in suits with fancy degrees from Ivy League schools.
    • avatar
      corlemmersin reply toyehedgehog(Show commentHide comment)
      Yes it is possible. This trick they also use in the Ukraine Donbas area.
    • avatar
      Zhukovin reply tocorlemmers(Show commentHide comment)
      corlemmers, Anything to erode criminal nazism is worth trying, but the big oligarch money behind the scenes will most likely call off the unemployable nazi monkeys working for the Americans.
    • Baybarsin reply toyehedgehog(Show commentHide comment)
      yehedgehog, I like that approach! Yet to be really effective against the Poles, Russia will need five hundred tanks mixed in with those few merchant carriers.
    • avatar
      corlemmersin reply toZhukov(Show commentHide comment)
      Zhukov, oke you agree with my comment. That is something.
      But I can also see that you never been in The Ukraine.
      There are really no naz's there. There are nationalist parties there but they have no political power. By the way in Russia there are also nationalist parties. This nazi thing is used by the Russian state propaganda to justify there invasion in Donbass and Crimea. And yes a lot of people believe this bulshit.
    • avatar
      Zhukovin reply tocorlemmers(Show commentHide comment)
      corlemmers, There are neo- nazi elements in Ukraine. Otherwise there would not be torch lit parades and Azov/ Aidar mercenaries making the news. Two members of the Rada are from Right Sektor, correct? The US embassy employed these UPA/ OUN/ Right Sektor street gangs during the Maidan coup. Was it not Svoboda's gangs that beat and burned the people in Odessa in May 2014?
    • FlorianGeyerin reply tocorlemmers(Show commentHide comment)

      We have all witnessed the depravity of the self styled Right Sector in the area of the Donbass. Crucifictions, hangings of pregnant women and innocent civilians, rapes, murders, theft et al.
      I do agree with you about calling them Nazi's. The Bandera followers are akin to a plague diseased rats. In WW2 they cruelly murdered hundreds of thousands Russians and Poles in ways that defy description. The history is there to read, so please read and learn before you write abject nonsense here.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Well desperate moves from lost people..what a pity!
    • avatar
      This issue represents a much bigger problem for Poland and Ukraine than Russia. The more power these guys get, the more they will want.
    • avatar
      so this is done in compliance of the law...?
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tocorlemmers(Show commentHide comment)
      corlemmers, I have been to the ukraine and I have met people who, whilst not using the label (and that is all that it is) follow the precepts and values of that party even though it is put into another set of labels suitable for the ukrainian environment. Please do review history and do look at what the nazi party presented to the people of germany and then make the comparison with the situation in ukraine now. Look especially at the nationalist movement centred around lvov over the past 60-70 years.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      Florian, agreed, I wrote my response before I saw yours! :)
    • avatar
      corlemmersin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      Crucifictions, hangings of pregnant women you did not witnessed. You read this on Russian state propaganda sites. You read also that nazi's are controlling Kiev. And you believe it all. Conclusion propaganda works.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply tocorlemmers(Show commentHide comment)

      The 'Glory to Ukraine' Azov battalion of mentally deranged killers only last year publishes a video record of the their crucifixion of a separatist squad leader. They also immolated him as well in a ritualistic exhibition of wanton cruelty.
      Another group of Bandera thugs fixed a log between two trees and murdered a heavily pregnant woman and her husband by hanging. The ropes were thrown over the log and pulled by a SUV to murder the citizens from the Donbass.
      This atrocity was also filmed by the murderers on their own mobile phone.

      As I asked you before Corlemmers. Please research your opinions before you write your assertions here.
    • avatar
      Thes folks should hold their countries officials accountable for the cesspool situation there economy is in, rather than try to mimic the stupidity of the protest movement in the west. Take back your country and expect honesty and competence from your elected officials, take responsibility for you situation and make it better, get rid of corrupt polititions.
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