Polish farmers plan 'complete blockade' of Ukraine border on Feb. 20

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Polish farmers protest in Poznan, Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish farmers plan a total blockade of all border crossings with Ukraine on Feb. 20, a trade union said on Tuesday, escalating their month-long strike that began last week in protest against EU policies.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting against constraints placed on them by EU measures to tackle climate change, as well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from abroad, particularly Ukraine.

In Poland, farmers have been particularly vocal about the impact of cheap food imports from Ukraine. They began a 30-day strike last Friday that has seen them block roads across the country as well as border crossings with Ukraine.

"On Feb. 20, as part of the 30-day general strike of farmers, we announce that all protest activities will be focused on a complete blockade of all border crossings between Poland and Ukraine and protests in the field," the Solidarity farmers' union said in a statement.

"Not only border crossings will be blocked, but also communication hubs and access roads to transshipment railway stations and sea ports."

A previously announced 'star march' on the same day will see farmers descend on Warsaw from all directions.

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, the country's Agrarian Chamber, said that on Feb. 22 groups of farmers from across central and eastern Europe would congregate at their countries' borders for a joint day of protest.

Czech farmers will start their protests on Monday with a blockade of traffic in Prague.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw, Jan Lopatka in Prague; Editing by Susan Fenton)