Russia to supply LPG to Syria through Crimean port of Kerch

Russia plans shipment of hundreds of tonnes of LPG resources annually to Syria via Crimea, move that might further clinch Moscow’s vital support to Assad regime

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russia mulls over the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplies to Syria from the port of Kerch in the newly annexed Crimea, a vital support that is expected to increase close cooperation between Moscow and Damascus despite the fact that Syrian President Bashar al Assad regime’s war crimes during the four years of conflicts.  

Moscow plans to supply 200,000 tonnes LPG annually from Kerch amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis during which the Kremlin leadership gave a full-fledged support to Assad together with Iran which is also a cordial ally of Damascus.

"There are talks about LPG to first be shipped to Kerch and then to Syria, about 200,000 tonnes per year," one trader told Reuters on the condition of anonymity. Another trader also confirmed that Syria’s emergent needs for the Russian fuel resources.

One of Russian top petrochemical firms, Sibur would trade LPG to Syria over Kerch through the state-connected business environment whose identities will be kept secret due to the Western economic sanctions imposed upon Russia in the wake of Crimean annexation and the ongoing civil war in eastern Ukraine.

Russia does not take Western sanctions into consideration when it was trading with non-Western countries given the fact that its economy has been undergoing into recession following the low oil prices and its currency devaluation since last year.  

"It would be logical for those countries who do not care about international sanctions to work via Kerch," the trading source said.

Russia has limited access into Crimea through land routes since it has no territorial border with the “novoRossiya (new Russia),” which Putin once termed Crimea after it reunified with Russia, and considering constructing a bridge over the Kerch strait which will bind Russia with the Tauric Peninsula.

Moscow has already been trading some small amount of LPG over the port of Kerch to Syria before it seized Crimea from Ukraine last year via a fait accompli referendum in which nearly 60 percent of the Peninsula’s ethnically Russian-speaking majority had voted in favour of reunification with the Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month reiterated Moscow’s staminal support to Syria as he warned of any external use of force which might attempt at changing the Assad regime in order to terminate the civil war.  

Russia has so far supported the Assad regime together with Iran whereas the US and other Western allies together with the Gulf Arab dynasties have long been insisting on the regime change in Syria.

Since the Geneva talks, the US and Russia have been clashing over the ongoing Syrian crisis for which the parties could not have converged on how to end the civil war engulfing the Assad regime in Damascus.

The advancement of ISIS in Iraq and Syria has stranded both Washington and Moscow, but diminished some policy differences and difference in attitudes towards Syria between the US and Russia.

The Iran’s nuclear deal agreed on Tuesday in Vienna is expected to further dissipate Western pressure over Damascus since Iran enhances its bargaining power regarding the regional crises foremost in Syria and Yemen.

Iran is known for its solid stance towards the Assad regime in Syria and backs the Syrian military through sending weaponry and human resources, a vital support that essentially annoys Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and as well as Turkey in the region.

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the problems in Syria cannot be resolved without support and participation from Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Turkey has been so far the worst affected country from the humanitarian crisis in Syria and it currently hosts almost 1.8 million Syrian refugees.

The UN and London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group, which tracks the conflict from Britain through contacts on the ground estimated that over 220,000 people have been killed in the four years of Syrian conflict.


TRTWorld and agencies