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Officials with the Russian oil company Transneft say they've uncovered a failed bomb plot to sabotage the Druzhba oil pipeline and maim civilians in the western Bryansk region of Russia.
Transneft spokesman Igor Demin told TASS on Wednesday that two explosive devices were found at a pumping station. The devices, while they didn't detonate, had some degree of damage due to the likelihood they were dropped from drones, he explained."The character of the explosive parts — metal balls — indicates that the organizers of this sabotage did not intend to damage equipment, but rather to kill people, namely civilian workers at a pumping station on the Druzhba [pipeline]. Investigations are underway," Demin said.
The station in question, identified in Bloomberg as the Novozybkov station, "hasn’t been used for oil pumping so far this year; its reservoirs are empty," according to reports. Demin noted that no part of the station was damaged.
The Russian Defense Ministry didn't immediately comment on Transneft's statements, but the Kremlin has of late ratcheted its accusations that Ukrainian saboteurs are engaging in cross-border attacks. President Putin has recently ordered his federal security services (FSB) to tighten border security after a string of brazen cross-border incidents.
This year has also seen an unprecedented number of drone incursions over Russian territory, and Moscow has gone so far as to allege Western state backing of such operations.
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