A 300 metre long underground polyethylene pipeline has been discovered beneath the border of Ukraine and Moldova carrying vodka between the two countries.
Ukrainian border officials were on a routine patrol near the south-eastern city of Podilsk when they noticed “the characteristic smell of alcohol” according to a statement from the Southern Regional Department of the State Border Service.
There were no reports of a leak in the alcohol pipeline, so the contents must have been particularly strong for the smell to permeate the polyethylene.
Further investigations revealed the plastic pipeline being used to smuggle vodka illegally from Ukraine into Moldova.
The statement continued: “300 metres of polyethylene pipe stretched from the state border underground in the direction of the private home of a 32-year-old citizen of Ukraine.”
“Previously, the discovered highway was used for the illegal transfer of alcohol to Ukraine from the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.”
In a video posted on YouTube but later removed by the State Border Service, officials could be seen filling up a plastic jug with vodka straight from the pipeline.
The Ukrainian government has said it plans to investigate and then dismantle the vodka pipeline. The citizen meanwhile is under criminal investigation and has also been charged with attempting to bribe an official. With vodka, one would assume.
Pipelines carrying alcohol are not unheard of in countries which used to be part of the former Soviet Union.
A so-called “vodka highway” existed for the purpose of transporting cheap Russian vodka out of the Soviet Union and into neighbouring nations to sell for a large profit.
Ukraine was a part of the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR), with the country being led by its own Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR).
Podilsk has been spared the heavy fighting other areas have experienced since Russia launched its illegal invasion of Ukraine in February. The damage done to the city so far extends to several missile attacks on specific targets.
Alcohol remains legal in Ukraine despite the war. There have, however, been restrictions placed on when and where citizens can buy drink as part of the imposed martial law.
No such worries for those hooked up to the illegal vodka pipeline.