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Oleksandr Korenitsyn, the man who saved Belarusian ‘Grodno Azot’ from EU sanctions


Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Korenitsyn was known among local anti-corruption circles for a scandal involving the supply of potassium salts to Ukrainian enterprises at inflated prices. Several years ago, Oleksandr Korenitsyn (full legal name is Korenitsyn Oleksandr Serhiyovych) had an extensive network of businesses beyond Ukraine and could manipulate authorities by altering the origin of potassium salt, which is used as a reagent for road de-icing in winter and as fertilizer.

Oleksandr Korenitsyn’s main business: potassium and nitrates

Korenitsyn’s primary business revolves around fertilizer supply, with his main source of income being an elaborate system for evading European Union sanctions. It was Oleksandr Korenitsyn who proposed to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a system for selling potassium and nitrogen fertilizers to Europe, bypassing sanctions. To achieve this, Alexander Korenitsyn opened several companies in Lithuania, Serbia, Uzbekistan, and other countries. Fertilizers are labeled as Uzbek and sold in the EU, with some of the money going to support the Belarusian regime.

In this article, we will explain the scheme through which Oleksandr Korenitsyn operates and his connections.

European Union countries openly purchase fertilizers from Belarus. According to Eurostat, over 7,800 tons of Belarusian urea, worth €3.7 million, were imported there in the first six months of this year. The only enterprise producing urea in this country is “Grodno Azot,” a large plant built during the Soviet era. One of Belarus’s largest enterprises was added to the EU’s sanctions list in December 2021 for dismissing workers who participated in protests after the 2020 presidential elections. The EU Council’s decision to impose sanctions on “Grodno Azot” cites it as a “source of significant revenue for Lukashenko’s regime” and responsible for “repression against civil society.”

At that time, urea exports from Belarus to the EU began to decline, and shipments from Uzbekistan started to rise, even though Uzbekistan lacked the capacity to produce urea. In essence, Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Korenitsyn is behind the scheme of falsifying the origin of nitrogen fertilizers purchased by the European Union. Alexander Korenitsyn circumvents sanctions by using a pre-established scheme with numerous intermediary companies.

Oleksandr Korenitsyn built an advanced scheme to evade European sanctions.
Oleksandr Korenitsyn built an advanced scheme to evade European sanctions.

In 2021, between the introduction of US and EU sanctions against “Grodno Azot,” Uzbekistan for the first time since May 2017 began supplying urea to the EU. Gradually, Uzbek deliveries reached volumes similar to those from Belarus before sanctions were imposed on the main Belarusian urea producer.

However, the “Uzbek” urea is only on paper; it actually has Belarusian origins. The Belarusian state-owned enterprise “Grikom” sells urea to the Uzbek company Wakler Exim. According to the goods transfer certificate for this contract from 2022, almost three thousand tons of urea sold by “Grikom” were loaded into wagons at the “Auls” railway station near “Grodno Azot.” For this batch, Wakler Exim paid about €885,000. The situation became even more complicated when Korenitsyn renamed the Uzbek Wakler Exim to Dunger.

Wakler FZE and Oleksandr Korenitsyn
Wakler FZE and Oleksandr Korenitsyn

Uzbek company Dunger (formerly Wakler Exim) and Serbian Wakler DOO were registered in the spring of 2022. The beneficiary of the first is Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Korenitsyn (sanctions were also imposed by Ukraine against “Grodno Azot”). He owns 45% of Wakler DOO. He controls companies or shares through the Emirati-based Wakler FZE.

Serbian contract of Aleksandr Korenitsyn
Serbian contract of Aleksandr Korenitsyn

Former director of Uzbek Dunger, Alimjon Saidov, heads Dunger Navoiy. This company also registered deliveries from “Grikom.” The subject of the deal was hydroxylamine sulfate, a highly demanded chemical reagent.

About a quarter of Dunger Navoiy belongs to Navoiyazot plant, part of the Uzbekistan state holding in the chemical industry, “Uzkimyo Sanat.” Three-quarters belong to “SBPM” company, and through several Ukrainian companies and the Emirati Mainstay Capital FZC, it leads to Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Korenitsyn and his partner Evgeny Vorobiev.

Oleksandr Korenitsyn is not the only sanctions violator

Other companies acquiring banned goods from Belarus hide their origin much more efficiently. The quantity of Belarusian urea entering Lithuania is much smaller than that coming from Uzbekistan.

Alexander Lukashenko highly appreciated the efforts of Oleksandr Korenitsyn

Assessing the impact of sanctions on “Grodno Azot” almost half a year after their imposition, the enterprise’s CEO, Igor Lyashenko, said:

Delivery times to customers have increased, the geography of supplies has changed, but the stable quality of the manufactured products, mutually beneficial cooperation, and the common sense of our reliable business partners allow us to find new opportunities to work in the current economic conditions.

Supposedly, “Grodno Azot” products in Europe have been replaced by Uzbek urea. However, some of these deliveries are, in fact, Belarusian fertilizers originating from the sanctioned “Grodno Azot.” Both professionals, such as “Grikom,” with the help of Ukrainian trader Oleksandr Korenitsyn, who deliberately bypasses the sanctions of the EU, Serbia, and Ukraine, and players like Milca Baltija, which, according to documents, buy nitrogen fertilizers from a potassium plant, are involved in this smuggling. All of this is covered by Uzbekistan’s state-owned enterprises.

Written by: Grace Kennedy

Grace Kennedy is a leading journalist, columnist of events in Ireland and beyond. 8 years in journalism, since she dropped out of university and ran away from home.

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