Polish truckers have been blocking major crossings for cargo vehicles with neighbouring war-torn Ukraine since early November, demanding the reintroduction of entry permits for their Ukrainian competitors.
“Blocking traffic on the border between Poland and Ukraine: the situation is catastrophic!” Kyiv’s rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said in a statement.
“Ukrainian drivers are in such a dire situation that they plan to go on hunger strike if the situation does not improve!”
Huge queues have formed on both sides of the border, with many drivers stuck in their vehicles for days in cold temperatures and with little food.
Kyiv on Friday said that some 2,100 trucks trying to enter Ukraine were blocked on the Polish side.
Lubinets said he had contacted his Polish counterpart Marcin Wiacek but has not yet received a response.
He also said that Kyiv has started to prepare for “the evacuation of drivers from blocked checkpoints on the territory of Poland”, without giving details of what that would look like.
He said Ukraine had also started preparing to supply drivers with food, water, medicine and fuel.
At least two rounds of talks between Kyiv and the truckers have failed.
Warsaw said this week it would conduct “stepped-up checks” on Ukrainian trucks on roads leading to the border in an effort to placate the protesting hauliers.
The truckers say they have faced unfair competition since the EU permits were scrapped after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Poland took in over a million Ukrainian refugees since the outbreak of war with Russia.
But relations with Ukraine took a sour turn during Poland’s parliamentary election this autumn, when the ruling party increased nationalist rhetoric and became embroiled in spats with Kyiv.