Arrests made in relation to Crimean pipeline blast: Kremlin
The Russian government said September 7 it had made arrests in connection with a gas pipeline explosion in the Crimean Peninsula.
The Federal Security Service said it had arrested three people thought to be behind an August attack on a gas pipeline in southern Crimea.
The Russian government claimed the act of sabotage involved the Ukrainian government’s military intelligence unit and the ethnic Crimean Tatars.
“For committing sabotage, the military intelligence of Ukraine promised them a monetary reward of about $2,000,” the Russian government said.
Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, prompting Western powers to impose sanctions on Moscow. Western powers deny the peninsula is Russian territory and the Ukrainian government, which has moved closer to the European Union, has said Crimea is theirs.
The issue over Ukraine has widespread implications for the regional energy sector. A former Soviet republic, Ukraine hosts a dense network of Soviet-era pipelines that deliver mostly natural gas to Europe.
Nord Stream, a pipeline system running from the Baltic Sea to Europe, on one hand avoids geopolitically sensitive territory in Ukraine, though it starves the country of gas transit revenue and consolidates Russia’s grip on the regional energy sector.
A report from the Reuters news service indicated Ukraine had no formal response to the arrests related to the Crimean incident.