Ukraine may take “retaliatory measures” if Poland does not resolve border blockades by protesting farmers by 28 March, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has declared after waiting at the border for a meeting with Polish leaders, who, as previously announced, did not show up.

“For the past six months, we have been living under a permanent blockade of the Ukrainian border by Poland. A blockade that has hit our economy and our ability to defend ourselves better,” said Shmyhal on Telegram, referring to the ongoing blockade by farmers as well as a previous one by truckers launched last year.

This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to meet at the border to discuss how to end the protests, which he said was a matter of “national security”. However, Tusk declined the offer, noting that the two governments are already scheduled to hold talks in Warsaw next month.

In order to ensure the unimpeded movement of goods at the border, Tusk instead decided to add border crossings to Poland’s list of critical infrastructure. The move will give “a 100% guarantee that military and humanitarian aid will reach the Ukrainian side without any delays”, he declared.

That decision, however, did not satisfy Ukraine and, as announced by Zelensky, Ukrainian officials, including the Shmyhal and two deputy prime ministers, Olha Stefanishyna and Oleksandr Kubrakov, appeared at the border with Poland on Friday, waiting for their Polish counterparts.

After Polish leaders failed to show up at the border, Shmyhal published on Telegram a picture of Ukrainian government representatives in front of a border crossing and called on Poland to take more decisive action against the blockades.

A month ago, in Kyiv, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that Poland is Ukraine’s most reliable, most important ally in this deadly battle against evil. A month ago, we agreed that the blocking of the border is harmful to our countries and that it is important to prevent such incidents. A month has passed, and we are back to this point again. Only now, we see outright provocations,” said Shmyhal.

“We understand the difficulties faced by the Polish government. And we are ready to help resolve this situation,” he added. “The president of Ukraine offered the Polish leadership a platform to negotiate and find a compromise. Here, on the border. As equal partners and allies.”

The Ukrainian prime minister additionally warned that if the issue of unblocking the border is not resolved by 28 March, “Ukraine may take retaliatory measures at border crossings”, reports broadcaster TVN24.

He also outlined a five-step plan for resolving the conflict, which includes Ukraine’s acceptance of the restrictions proposed by the European Commission on Ukrainian agricultural exports (poultry, eggs and sugar), analysis of the quality of Ukraine’s products, a proposal for the EU to ban Russian agricultural imports, and setting up a tripartite working group made up of Poland, Ukraine and the European Commission.

Shmyhal expressed gratitude to the Polish government for its clear stance on letting military equipment, humanitarian aid and medical supplies across the border. And he underlined that Ukraine and Poland remain good partners and allies.