The “Azot” Chemical Plant in Severodonetsk Threatens an Ecological Catastrophe in Donbass

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Energy engineering specialists are frightened by a catastrophe, and North Donetsk residents dream of Poland taking Groysman away…

An accident at the “Azot” chemical plant located in the city of Severodonetsk (actually it is the current capital of the part of the Lugansk region under Kiev’s control) threatens the ecological safety of the entire region, say energy engineering specialists.

On April 27th at the plant the power cable going from the thermal power station to the plant was damaged. “The cable that feeds all the plant has burned out. A reconnection was made from the line of the “Lugansk Energy Association” (LEA) for the period of carrying out repair work,” explained the deputy head of the Lugansk regional military civil authorities Vadim Daniyelyan, commenting on the incident.

“There aren’t many details, but what is known is that it is frightening. An unforeseen catastrophe has the potential of Chernobyl in 1986, it is necessary to quickly regain control over the situation,” noted the LEA. “What causes special concern is the fact that ‘Azot’, which was de-energized on April 25th, due to ecologically sky-high debts, was completely incapable of functioning normally. The Lugansk Energy Association is not able to continue to lend to this enterprise – the LEO is in agony, which threatens the collapse of the entire energy supply system of the Lugansk region. Currently it isn’t exactly known what is going on and what consequences there will be, but the fact that the ammonia cooling process has been suspended because of damage to the cable power lines at the chemical company is absolutely bad. This can lead to an explosion on the territory of ‘Azot’,” reported the Severodonetsk city website “06452”, quoting the statement of energy engineering specialists.

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The head of LEO Vladimir Gritsay in an interview to journalists confirmed that “because of damage to the cable power lines the ammonia storage of ‘Azot’ was de-energized and the process of cooling it was stopped, which can lead to an explosion on the territory of ‘Azot'”.

However, Severodonetsk says something else – that there hasn’t been any ammonia in the storage of “Azot” since 2014, and panic is caused by those who have never been behind the fence of the enterprise. And, perhaps, it is started deliberately to muddy the situation surrounding the plant.

On April 23rd the labor collective of “Azot” was informed about the intention to launch the chemical giant in a month’s time – the production of ammonia, urea (carbamide) and ammonium nitrate. A local forum immediately reacted to this. “Every two months our media reports that ‘preparation to start Azot is ongoing’. This is a purely Severodonetsk joke. Like ‘Ukraine entering the EU’,” wrote Severodonetsk residents. Earlier, in March, 2018, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office accused the owner of ‘Azot’ Dmitry Firtash of not paying taxes, and in parallel with this a scandal is unfolding – the original documents confirming the sale of the enterprise to Firtash allegedly don’t exist, thus an illegal deal took place. It is quite possible that the damaged power cable is one more “coin” in this “moneybox”, and passions around “Azot” are intentionally induced.

Severodonetsk residents, in any case, haven’t responded to the media’s panic attack: they are disturbed much more by the wage arrears to “Azot” workers, the uncertain fate of the enterprise, very expensive heating, and the refusal of the government to raise the minimum wage. They tenderly call the Prime Minister Groysman “Grosya” and dream of the Poles taking “Grosya” together with the Ministry of Social Policy Reva (who reproached the residents of Ukraine for having a good appetite) away.

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