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Russia claims Ukraine blasted grain deal's ammonia pipeline

June 7, 2023 at 3:11 pm

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, 7 April 2017 [Twitter]

The Russian Defence Ministry claimed, on Wednesday, that Ukraine’s armed forces intentionally blasted the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline in the Kharkiv region, which is mentioned in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Speaking at a press briefing in Moscow, the Ministry’s spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said several people were injured in the blast.

“On 5 June, at about 21:00 Moscow time (1800GMT), in the area of the settlement of Masyutovka, Kharkiv region, a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group blew up the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline. As a result of this terrorist act, there are victims among the civilian population,” Konashenkov said.

The official noted that ammonia continues draining through the damaged sections of the pipeline.

Commenting on the incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, recalled that the restoration of supplies through the pipeline is one of the terms of the grain deal.

Zakharova stressed that the Ukrainian side had been refusing to implement the part of the agreement on the pipeline under different pretexts.

READ: Russia downbeat on Black Sea grain deal as Kyiv tries to unblock exports

“It can already be stated that the only country that has never been interested in resuscitating the pipeline was Ukraine,” she added.

The diplomat pointed out that right after the incident, Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said it was possible to repair the pipe “if necessary”, but not to resume the supplies of fertilisers.

The spokeswoman said Kyiv initially put forward as the condition for the restoration of ammonia supplies the return of the control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, then demanded additional preferences for the grain deliveries.

“Finally, taking into account the growing pressure, because the supply of Russian ammonia is provided for by both Istanbul agreements, apparently a decision was made – there is no ammonia pipeline, there are no problems,” she said.

Last July, Turkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

The Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline was used for ammonia (a wide-use fertiliser) supplies from the Russian city of Tolyatti to Ukraine’s port of Odessa where it was loaded to vessels for further deliveries across the world.

Last year, Nord Stream gas pipelines were blasted in the Baltic Sea, cutting off gas supplies from Russia to Germany.

READ: UN tries to save Black Sea grain deal with ‘mutually beneficial’ proposal – source