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Russia accused on Tuesday Ukraine’s military intelligence of having organized an attack on a natural gas pipeline in Crimea at the end of last month, in another escalation of tensions between Moscow and Kyiv.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014, straining the bilateral relations between one of Europe’s key natural gas suppliers, Russia, and one of the key transit countries for the gas, Ukraine.
The annexation of Crimea was criticized by the United States and the European Union (EU), both of which imposed sanctions on Russia over the 2014 act. The U.S. sanctions include sanctions on parts of the oil and gas industry in Russia. Those sanctions ban the provision of services or technology in support of exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects.
Today, the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB, said in a statement that sabotage on a gas pipeline on August 23 in Crimea was found to have been organized by the military intelligence unit of Ukraine’s ministry of defense and the Mejlis Crimean Tatars organization, which is banned in Russia.
Many Crimean Tatars oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
According to Russia’s FSB, the Ukrainian military intelligence promised the perpetrators a payment of $2,000 to sabotage the gas pipeline in Crimea.
“Ukraine’s military intelligence promised to pay them about $2,000 for the subversive attack. An explosive device was secretly brought to Crimea in July. The attack was planned for Ukraine’s Independence Day,” the Russian security service said in its statement.
Suspects have been detained over the sabotage, and some have made confessions, Russian news agency TASS reports.
“We were asked to blow up a gas pipeline in Perevalnoye, they showed us the explosive device and told us what to do with it,” one of the detained people was quoted as saying about meeting a man in Ukraine before the sabotage.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com