Following ongoing and alarming reports of stranded drivers and seized cargo and vehicles, IRU has contacted the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs. IRU is asking Ukrainian authorities to release stranded drivers and prioritise their return to their home countries with their trucks and cargo.
Despite IRU’s appeal to governments, in Ukraine and across Europe and Eurasia, to prioritise passage of professional drivers and their vehicles, thousands of truck drivers are still stranded far from home due to the military conflict.
While this is still an issue for Ukraine’s neighbours, it is particularly acute within Ukraine. In recent days, IRU has continued to receive hundreds of queries from transport operators from many countries, and concerning drivers of several nationalities, who are still desperately stuck in Ukraine.
Specific numbers are hard to come by, but based on requests received by IRU, we estimate that between four and five thousand drivers remain stranded in Ukraine.
IRU is in constant contact with national member associations and transport operators in the region to provide support where necessary. However, increasing reports of detentions and unjustified seizure of cargo and vehicles have started to appear.
Most of these drivers were simply doing routine deliveries in the country when the crisis started last week. In many cases, their cargo is destined for European countries, which are now providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
The situation at many of Ukraine’s border crossings, understandably, is chaotic. However, it is unclear why Ukrainian customs authorities refuse to complete necessary formalities of so many trucks and drivers, especially in areas away from military conflict.
Amidst the current crisis, IRU is counting on the support of the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that all drivers who entered Ukraine before 24 February are given priority to return, without further delay, to their home countries with their trucks and cargo.