Russia's Transport Ministry has banned trucks with Ukrainian plates from driving on Russian roads, announcing on Sunday the measure was a response to efforts by activists in Ukraine to block Russian trucks.
The Russian ministry described the ban as a “retaliatory measure,” adding the ban would remain in effect until Kiev “regulates ... the situation with the illegal blocking of Russian trucks on Ukrainian territory.”
Protesters in about a dozen Ukrainian regions have been blocking roads to prevent Russian-registered trucks from entering their country or traveling across it en route further west to European Union countries such as Hungary and Slovakia, or to Belarus, according to reports by Ukrainian and independent Russian media.
The protests started last week in the western Zakarpattia region, and quickly spread to the regions of Zhytomyr, Rivne, Volyn, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi in the west, the Chernihiv and Sumy regions in the east, and Dnipropetrovsk in the central part of Ukraine.
Ukrainian nationalist politician and former lawmaker Oleh Tyahnybok urged the government to impose a nationwide ban on Russian trucks.
“Authorities, how is it alright that Poland doesn't allow Moscow's rigs entry, while Ukraine, against whom Moscow is waging a war, calmly allows the aggressor country to use our territory and damage our roads,” Tyahnybok said on his Facebook page on Feb. 11.
Meanwhile, Moscow has demanded that Ukraine stop the protests and allow its trucks to pass.
“As of now, the Ukrainian side has not adopted any measures aimed at curtailing the illegal activities by those groups and ensuring unhindered travel by Russian trucks,” the Transport Ministry said in its statement.