Illegal vodka pipeline discovered between Ukraine and Moldova
One bootlegger went the extra mile (or 300 metres, to be more accurate) to smuggle vodka across the border from Moldova into Ukraine.
Ukrainian border officials discovered the tubing while on patrol near the city of Podilsk, in the south east of the country. A statement from the Southern Regional Department of the State Border Service said that the illicit pipe was revealed when “the characteristic smell of alcohol” was noticed by the border guards.
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…the discovered highway was used for the illegal transfer of alcohol to Ukraine from the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.”
It is unclear how long the pipeline had been operational for, nor whether any particular brand of vodka was being funnelled across the border. The aforementioned citizen is currently under criminal investigation, including an allegation of attempting to bribe an official. The statement declared that the pipeline would be dismantled.
However, though the current conflict in the country may have created smuggling opportunities, using pipes to pump bootleg booze is not unheard of in the former Soviet Union. In 2008, a mile-long pipeline transporting vodka across the border from Russia to Estonia in an attempt to avoid excise duty was discovered by Estonian police. Another example was found between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 2013.
Alcohol is still legal in Ukraine, despite the war, but there have been restrictions on when and where citizens can buy drinks as part of the martial law imposed across the country. Some distilleries, such as XDar in Cherkasy, have resumed production of the staple spirit.