The explosion of a gas pipeline in Crimea was organized by Ukrainian intelligence, Russia’s security service – the FSB reported.
On August 23, unidentified persons damaged the gas pipeline, located in Crimea’s mountainous area and used for supplying gas to a military unit and to the village of Perevalnoye. The gas pipeline operation was restored on the next day. On 6 September, four suspects were arrested.
“It was established that this act of sabotage was orchestrated by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate department in Kherson, the so-called Tavria operational service, with participation of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, which is banned in Russia. On 4 September 2021, FSB staffers detained Crimean residents: Mejlis deputy chairman Nariman Dzhelyalov who acted as a middleman, and direct perpetrators Asan and Aziz Akhmetov,” the FSB said in a statement.
Allegedly, the perpetrators traveled to Ukraine in June to be trained to use explosives. The Ukrainian military intelligence pledged to pay them around $2,000 for the act of sabotage. The explosive device was delivered to Crimea in July. The attack was initially scheduled to be carried out on the Independence Day of Ukraine, celebrated on August 24th.
In August, several suspects blew up the gas pipe of the State Unitary Enterprise “RK“ Krymgazseti ”in the village of Perevalnoye, Simferopol district, which left residents without gas. The Ministry of Internal Affairs opened a case of deliberate damage to property (part 2 of article 167). The maximum punishment for her is five years in prison.
The FSB on September 4 detained three residents of Crimea, who are now in custody. According to the service, one of them is an intermediary, deputy chairman of the Mejlis Nariman Dzhelyalov, two others are the direct perpetrators of the sabotage Asan and Aziz Akhtemov.
According to initial reports five local residents were detained on suspicion of damaging the gas pipeline, their lawyer Emil Kurbedinov said. Then it turned out that the Mejlis members were detained, and they were three.
At the same time, about 60 people came out to the FSB building in Simferopol to protest. The protesters demanded to tell where the detained Crimean Tatars were, whose houses were searched by law enforcement agencies the day before.
The US State Department later called on the Russian authorities to release all detainees.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky linked the detentions in Simferopol to the Crimean Platform forum. “They have already taken Nariman Dzhelyalov <…> This is how Russia reacts to the start of the Crimean Platform operation. All detainees must be released,” the president wrote.
According to the official version of events, at the direction of one of the leaders of the “Mejlis” in June the Akhmetovs went to Ukraine, where they were trained in explosives. They were promised about $2,000 for organizing the explosion. The action was planned to coincide with the Independence Day of Ukraine, August 24th.
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