Empty cargo trucks crossed the border between Ukraine and Poland on Monday morning in the first step towards a de-escalation of a border blockade that has paralysed Ukrainian trade.

Polish hauliers have been blocking Ukrainian trucks at major crossing points for the past month, protesting at what they say is unfair competition and demanding the reintroduction of a permit system for goods entering the European Union from Ukraine.

Ukraine relies heavily on road transport with EU-member Poland for its exports and imports, particularly since the Russian invasion nearly two years ago.

Thirty empty heavy goods vehicles entered Poland from Ukraine via the Dolhobyczow-Ugryniv crossing after the border point was opened for cargo traffic at 01:00 am (2300 GMT on Sunday), Ukrainian border guards said on Monday.

The crossing, which previously served only cars and buses, was opened for empty trucks travelling from Ukraine to Poland in the first stage of what Kyiv says is a list of measures agreed between the two sides to ease the blockade.

The Federation of Employers of Ukraine, a major business association, estimates Ukraine has lost "more than 400 million euros" ($44 million) so far due to the blockade, which has paralysed traffic on both sides of the border.

Polish truckers say their Ukrainian rivals have been undercutting them since an EU entry permit system was scrapped after Russia's invasion in February 2022.

Previous rounds of talks between Kyiv, Warsaw and the protesting Polish lorry drivers had failed to reach a breakthrough.

Brussels and Kyiv have said the permit waiver should stay in place.

The agreement reached over the weekend only covers the transit of empty vehicles going from Ukraine to Poland.