Ukrainian protesters lift Polish border blockade: officials
Though the issue was far from over
Ukrainian demonstrators have lifted their block of a crossing point on the border with Poland erected to protest Warsaw`s stricter new visa rules, local authorities said Thursday, EU Business reports.
The blockade by some 500 local Ukrainians in the country`s western Lviv region was lifted late Wednesday, regional border guards said.
Established Tuesday over demands to allow Ukrainians living near the Polish border to cross the frontier without visas, the barrier was removed following rumors that special forces would be sent in, one protester said.
But another demonstrator, Mykola, warned the issue was far from over.
"If the agreement with Poland isn`t signed between now and February 1, 1000 people will be here," said Mykola, who imports Polish goods into Ukraine.
Ukraine, which has abolished its visa regime for EU citizens, is negotiating a deal with Warsaw to allow Ukrainians living near the border to travel visa-free.
Kiev hopes to sign an agreement during the February visit to Ukraine by Poland`s new prime minister, Donald Tusk.
After joining the Schengen zone on December 21 with nine other European Union members, Poland toughened its visa requirements for Ukrainians who had previously obtained the documents easily and free of charge.
The change has particularly hurt Ukrainians in the west, where many people are involved in cross-border trade and black-market work with their richer neighbour.