Foreign affairs analyst says Putin might make concessions in order to restart ammonia pipeline

9 December 2022, 12:21 PM
The ammonia pipeline connects the Tolyattiazot plant and the Odesa port plant (Photo:Wikipedia)

The ammonia pipeline connects the Tolyattiazot plant and the Odesa port plant (Photo:Wikipedia)

The operation of the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline has unexpectedly become extremely important for Russia, and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin might make big concessions to keep it operating, international relations expert Ivan Yakovyna told Radio NV on Dec. 7.

“This is a very important story for Putin,” he said.

“Of course, I’m not a fan of the fact that this ammonia pipeline will begin to work and bring profit to Russia. But if for this purpose Ukraine regains control over the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, and all the prisoners of war return home, and Russia undertakes not to launch strikes at civilian infrastructure, I think it would be pretty cool.”

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According to Yakovyna, the reason for Moscow’s increased attention to the fate of the ammonia pipeline is the fact that, as a result of recent events, Russian gas giant Gazprom is on the verge of bankruptcy – moreover, the monopolist has nowhere to store its gas and is forced to use it for ammonia production.

The journalist said such an agreement would be an indirect admission by Russia of its inability to win the war.

“If it (Russia) thought it could win this war, why would it make deals?” he said.

“They could keep going, win, and that’s it. But concluding such an agreement will be the second official confirmation that Russia cannot win. Because the first one was probably the conclusion of the grain agreements (to allow the shipping of grain from three Ukrainian ports, dropping Russia’s naval blockade).”

Yakovyna said Russia could violate its part of the alleged agreement, but then, in his opinion, Ukraine could easily turn off the ammonia pipeline at any moment.

To extend the grain deal, Russia may be allowed to export ammonia through the same corridor through which Ukraine currently exports food products, the Financial Times newspaper reported in November.

According to sources, negotiations on this are underway at the United Nations.

To this end, the sides discussed restarting the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, the pumping of which was halted on Feb. 24.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Nov. 17 that his country would agree to the transit of Russian ammonia to Odesa only after the prisoner swap under the “all for all” formula.

The length of the ammonia pipeline through the territory of Ukraine is 1,018 kilometers. The Russian part of the pipeline is controlled by the TogliattiAzot company, which belongs to the Uralchem Group. The state-owned enterprise Ukrhimtransamiak is the operator of its Ukrainian part.

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