Ukrainian government considering allowing the transit of Russian ammonia

The Ukrainian government is reportedly considering allowing the transit of Russian ammonia through its territory for maritime export, on the condition of expanding the recently renewed agreement for Black Sea grain exports. Reuters, citing government sources, has stated that this would involve the inclusion of more Ukrainian ports and a greater variety of raw materials.

This is the first time that the Ukrainian government has publicly stated its position on Russian ammonia, which Moscow wishes to export from Black Sea ports, and is using it as an argument for not renewing the cereal agreement. The original agreement, signed in July of last year between Russia and Ukraine under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, allows for «safe navigation for the export of cereals and related food products and fertilizers, including ammonia,» through the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Yuzhny. However, according to the source cited by Reuters, «the language of the agreement does not cover the transit of Russian ammonia through Ukraine.»

Russia, one of the world’s major exporters of ammonia, has been pressuring to resume the supply of this chemical product through a pipeline capable of pumping up to 2.5 million tons per year from the Russian city of Toliatti to the port of Yuzhny (renamed as Pivdennyi in 2017), near Odesa. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, Russia used to export approximately 4.4 million tons of ammonia per year, which accounted for about 20% of total maritime trade.

The Kiev government has repeatedly expressed its desire for the agreement to include more ports and products. This demand would be raised in the event of negotiating a new agreement with Russia.