Russian Truckers Protest Federal Levy With Roadblock

About 150 drivers are also blocking the Moscow-Crimea highway in Belgorod, a Russian region bordering Ukraine.

Russian truck drivers have set up roadblocks across the country, demanding the cancellation of a new levy on 12-ton vehicles for using federal highways, the news portal BFM.ru reported Wednesday.

More than 300 long-distance trucks have halted traffic on the R-245 federal highway in the Siberian District's Novosibirsk. Similar protests are taking place near other major Russian cities, including Irkutsk, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, and Arkhangelsk.

About 150 drivers are also blocking the Moscow-Crimea highway in Belgorod, a Russian region bordering Ukraine.

The government's plans to charge a new fee on 12-ton trucks have alarmed not only the carriers, but also the producers and owners of goods who use their services, chairman of the Siberian Association of Auto Carriers Vyacheslav Trunayev said, the TASS news agency reported Wednesday.

The auto association said that the the levy would increase the cost of these goods by 5 to 10 percent.

The authorities are planning to introduce a levy of 3.73 rubles ($0.06) per kilometer of federal roads from Nov. 15, TASS reported.

According to Trunayev, auto carriers demand that the system be tested in a single region for at least six months before it is introduced nationwide. They also ask that the government reduce the fees and introduce a postpaid system of settlements.

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