Matthew Gordon-Banks

Russia – Ukraine Ammonia Pipeline


The worlds longest ammonia pipeline, 2470 km, going from Togliatti at the Volga to three harbours at the Black Sea has been breached near Masyutivka in the Kupiansk region. It happened at June 5th, the day before the destruction of the Novo Kakhovka dam. Both sides blame each other. The pipeline has been shut down since February 2022, but there seems to be ammonia in it.

The pipeline has played an important part in the grain deal. The opening of the pipeline for ammonia deliveries from Russia was a demand from the Russian side for allowing Ukrainian grain shipments. This has not happened so Russia on June 2nd, stopped any further grain shipments until the pipeline is opened again.

The Ukrainian side claims that Russian artillery shelling destroyed a pumping station near Masyutivka and that no leakage of ammonia has been observed. The Russian side claims on the other side that Ukrainian forces blew up the pumping station and that a lot of ammonia has been released and blown towards the Ukrainian lines. This has forced the Ukrainians to abort military operations in the area. Russia claims that at least one are dead and three hospitalised.

I don’t know the exact location of the pumping station, but since Russian forces control the eastern side of the Oskil river and have a beachhead on the western side, the pumping station ought to be on the western side as well if it has been hit by Russian artillery. The Ukrainians could have blown up the pipeline anywhere on their territory but by doing it at the front they could easily blame the Russians. By the video it seems that Russian claims of a leakage at least are confirmed.

There are at present impossible to say who did it. There are arguments pro and against both sides. Russia wants to export ammonia so that would talk against the Russians. The Russians could of course have given up on the prospect of exporting ammonia and want to shift blame on Ukraine for the abandonment of the grain deal. The same could be said about the Ukrainian side. They want to export grain, but not, it seems, if that allows Russia to gain income from ammonia export.

With special thanks to Mikael Valtersson

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