By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Ukraine on Monday said it plans to sue neighbors Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia over bans on Ukrainian agricultural products.
Restrictions imposed by the European Union in May allowed Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds while permitting transit of such cargoes for export elsewhere.
However, over the weekend, the EU’s executive European Commission made clear the ban won’t be extended, prompting Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to announce their own restrictions.
Budapest, Bratislava, and Warsaw say they are acting in the interests of their economies and that their moves are intended to protect their farmers from an influx of cheap products from Ukraine.
In a sign of social tensions, hundreds of farmers protested at the Hungarian-Ukrainian border, citing fears for their livelihoods, Worthy News monitored.
Kyiv had already said it could seek international arbitration over the restrictions.
Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka said it was “important to prove that these actions are legally wrong. And that’s why we will start legal proceedings tomorrow,” Tuesday.
Kachka told the Politico publication that Ukraine could also impose reciprocal measures on Poland if Warsaw did not drop its additional steps.
“We would be forced to retaliate on the additional products and would prohibit the import of fruit and vegetables from Poland,” Politico quoted him as saying.
The standoff with Poland is remarkable as the country is one of the most vocal supporters among EU nations of military aid to Ukraine as it tries to halt Russia’s invasion.
Hungary has had tensions with Kyiv over its perceived pro-Russia policies, while Budapest accused Ukraine of discriminating against the country’s ethnic Hungarian minority.
Ukraine, one of the world’s breadbaskets, has been forced to seek order routes to export its grain after Russia walked out of a deal that allowed Kyiv to export safely through the Black Sea.
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