Crimean Titan plant expecting equipment and reagents from Europe. Will the deal provoke sanction scandal?
Plant Crimean Titan in the occupied Crimea is known for accident with air pollution with harmful chemical compounds, which has affected the residents of the city Armyansk. Reportedly, the plant attempts to buy equipment for wastewater treatment facilities from European countries. However, the calculations that the environmental factor will play its role and the deal can be made bypassing sanctions are hardly justified.
In Europe, the scandal with Siemens turbines, which were allegedly purchased by Russia for the enterprises of the fuel and energy complex of the Krasnodar Territory and ended up in occupied Crimea, is still rumored.
Apparently, now a similar scheme will be attempted for the Crimean chemical giant, which last year provoked an environmental disaster in the north of the illegally annexed peninsula.
In mid-November, the director of the company-owner of the Titanium Investments LLC Eduard Kurmachev announced that equipment and reagents from Belarus and the Czech Republic would arrive at the plant in the coming weeks to neutralize acid effluents into the acid storage.
“This is a complex of various equipment of the Republic of Belarus. Neutralization reactors are arriving from the Czech Republic, because in the Russian Federation we have not found a supplier ready to fulfill such an order.”
At the same time, he did not specify the names of Czech and Belarusian enterprises with which contracts were signed, as well as the amounts of these contracts. So far, information on the supply of such equipment has not been confirmed.
The “experience” dragged on …
One can already suggest that the solution of the environmental problem of the Crimean Titan is being delayed. Including due to the fear of sanctions that bind in actions of not only European, but also Russian companies.
It should be noted, that at the end of August 2018, the evaporation of the acid accumulator at Crimean Titan, which was overfilled and not diluted with fresh water, caused an environmental disaster in the Armyansk region. To prevent this from happening in the future, the Crimean “authorities” and the enterprise administration announced, first of all, the drilling of wells to produce fresh water to dilute wastewater. In addition, it was planned to build a unit for neutralizing acidic effluents, which would exclude their discharge into the acid accumulator.
In December last year, the plant management announced that the launch of the first phase of the installation will take place by August of this year. However, the search for an organization ready to carry out the design and construction of the installation for Crimea dragged on. And first of all, because of fears of Russian companies to fall under sanctions.
“Most of the leading institutes in the field of chemical engineering are in one way or another connected with large chemical holdings in the Russian Federation. Accordingly, negative responses were initially received from them, since these companies are major exchange players in world markets, and therefore they are not ready to enter the Crimea,” reads a message in Crimean newspaper.
As a result, the company from St. Petersburg, Plateau Engineering, took up the development of design and estimate documentation.
But the scheduled launch of the first phase of the neutralization installation in August did not take place.
Probably, this is due to the same factor as with the search for a designer – the reluctance of treatment equipment manufacturers to make delivers to the region subjected to sanctions.
As can be seen, only now, in November, the enterprise management started talking about the supply of equipment for this installation. Now, the launch of the installation is postponed until next year – in March, and the solution of the environmental problem in Armyansk and its environs – even at a later date.
In this regard, the typo in the Crimean publication looks very ironic: “… the first stage – the acid drain neutralization section was to be completed by July 31, 3019 …”
Is the formula real “Czech Republic + Belarus = Crimea”?
The chance that companies from the Czech Republic and Belarus risked engaging in Crimean supplies is not very high.
The director of Titanium Investments did not mention the names of Czech and Belarusian enterprises with which contracts were concluded for the supply of reagents and equipment. Whether it was done intentionally or involuntarily, it is difficult to judge, but this has complicated rechecking information about the reality.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, where QHA media requested data, said that this information was being verified and, if confirmed, relevant requests would be sent to the competent authorities of Belarus and the Czech Republic. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry emphasized irs objection to any attempts to trade with the occupier.
“The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is fundamentally opposed to the development of any trade relations between foreign enterprises and enterprises located in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, since such contacts are contrary to the spirit of the international policy of not recognizing the attempted annexation of Crimea and contribute to the legitimization of the illegal occupation power of the peninsula.”
The Embassy of Ukraine in the Czech Republic, replied to QHA media that they were also studying information on possible cooperation of Czech companies with “Crimean” ones, and added that, if confirmed, they would contact the relevant Czech authorities.
The Head of the department for Affairs of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol of the Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine Serhiy Mokrenyuk believes that the statements of Crimean businessmen about contracts with Europe include a certain share of either propaganda or intentional misinformation.
Various motivating statements in the press should, in particular, demonstrate to the residents of Armyansk that the authorities and the leadership of the city-forming enterprise remember and care about people.
On the other hand, the Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories does not exclude attempts by Crimean enterprises to reach Europe, nor does it exclude that these attempts have failed, and the names of countries are voiced out of the air.
“I’m not sure that such a contract exists objectively. Yet there is no objective confirmation of the information. Everything they claim is slightly different from reality. Therefore, the words that they purchased something do not mean that they did purchase. Because they claim they have conditionally agreed with the Czech Republic. And I can be absolutely sure that the Czechs said “let’s consider it”, and then it turns out that the supplier company is not Czech, but from the Moscow region. And the equipment is not Czech, but stolen Chinese one.”
Mokrenyuk went on saying that the Ukrainian side in any case should respond and ask its European partners about cases of possible violation of Ukrainian legislation and the sanctions regime around the occupied Crimea.