KIEV, February 28. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Andrei Pivovarsky said on Sunday no Russian trucks are blocked in Ukraine.
"There is no blockade. There is an individual position of the Svoboda (Freedom) party. But all trucks with Russian number plates either have already lest Ukraine’s territory or are leaving tomorrow," he said in an interview with the Inter television channel.
He admitted that hampering international shipments was punishable. "European partner may lodge a suit against Ukraine," he said.
He said Ukraine was already suffering "huge losses from this blockade." "Just think of it: the number of Ukrainian trucks crossing Russia’s territory is seven times as big as Russian trucks in Ukraine," Pivovarsky said. "If Russia starts a blockade, what will become of it? We will lose thousands of jobs," he stressed.
The minister voiced criticism in respect of the nationalist party Svoboda that had launched another round of blockade of Russian trucks in Ukraine. "They (the nationalists) are getting prepared for the elections to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). They want a pleasing picture on television and that’s all," Pivovarsky said.
Svoboda said earlier on Sunday its activists had started a campaign to block transit of Russian trucks across the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. It said three Russian trucks had been forced to drive back to Belarus in the Zhitomir region. Five trucks had been stopped in the Lvov region. Trucks with Russian numbers plates were stopped in the Chernovtsy, Lvov, Transcarpathia and Volyn regions.
On February 11, Ukrainian radicals in the Transcarpathian Region announced an unlimited campaign to block the transit of Russian trucks. Later they were joined by radically-minded activists in nine regions: Volyn, Rovno, Lvov, Transcarpathia, Ivano-Frankovsk, Zhitomir, Vinnitsa, Sumy and Chernovtsy.
In response, on February 14, Russia halted the transit of Ukrainian transport companies’ trucks through its territory. On February 15, the Ukrainian government officially announced suspension of transit traffic of trucks registered in Russia.
From February 16, Russia completely halted the transit of motor vehicles registered in Ukraine across its territory.
Both countries later introduced the regime "I’m driving home" to allow truckers to complete their haul and return to the country of their registration.
On February 24, the Ukrainian government decided to reopen the transit of Russian trucks and instructed the Interior Ministry and the customs service to ensure their safety.
Russia and Ukraine agreed to resume motor freight traffic between the two countries from February 25.