Report: Occupiers Take Over Azmol, Agrinol


Report: Occupiers Take Over Azmol, Agrinol
Filling line equipment at the Azmol blending plant in Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Azmol

Azmol and Agrinol, the largest lubricant producers in Ukraine, were taken over by forces aligned with Russia’s occupation of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine and are being used for Moscow’s war on Ukraine, a media organization reported recently.

Based in Berdyansk on southern Ukraine’s Azov Sea coast, both companies ceased operations after Russia invaded on Feb 24, 2022.

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Berdyansk is within Zaporizhia oblast – one of four Ukrainian oblasts that Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to have annexed – and are part of a swath that Russian forces have occupied since soon after the invasion began. a territory occupied by Russian forces.

According to the Center for Journalistic Investigations, a Ukrainian media organization, Azmol and Agrinol, as well as farm equipment manufacturer Berdyanskie zhatki, stopped operating early last March, although employees received pay throughout the year.

The administration that Russia installed in Zaporozhye oblast seized the businesses and resumed operations in October, the center reported recently. According to its report, the installed administration justified its actions by stating that there was demand for the companies’ products but that their managers curtailed operations to avoid paying taxes to the occupiers.

The center suggested two reasons for the takeovers.

“To divide between themselves the spoils of these successful enterprise and to produce lubricants and greases, which are considered strategically important for the Russian army because they are used in military equipment” such as combat vehicles and tanks.

Azmol is one of the oldest lubricant companies in the region and was once one of the largest lubricant and grease producers in the Soviet Union. Agrinol is its spinoff created to supply lubes railway, mining, machining and other industries.

In 2016, United Kingdom-based British Petrochemicals became a part owner of Azmol, providing capital to modernize its factory, which had been under state control. In September 2021 the company claimed 8% of the approximately 200,000 tons per year Ukrainian lubricant market.

Prior to the invasion, Azmol-BP had capacity to make 125,000 metric tons per year of fluid lubricants and 99,700t/y of grease. It also operates its own filling and packaging line and a base oil tank farm with capacity of 80,000 cubic meters.

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