Russia says it foiled ‘sabotage, terrorism’ plot by Ukraine at ‘South Stream’ gas pipeline
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says it thwarted a plot by Ukrainian intelligence agencies to carry out "sabotage and terrorism" on the South Stream gas pipeline that supplies Russia’s natural gas through the Black Sea to the European continent.
“As a result of a set of investigative measures, [the FSB] prevented an attempt by Ukrainian special services to commit an act of sabotage and terrorism on the South Stream gas pipeline supplying energy resources to Turkey and Europe,” the security service said on Thursday.
According to Press TV, it further stated that the Russian citizens "involved in the preparation and material support of the terrorist attack" had been taken into custody.
"They confiscated 4 magnetic mines, 4 kg of plastic explosives, delayed-action fuses, 593,000 rubles and means of communication containing correspondence and negotiations with an overseer from the intelligence services of Ukraine, instructions for assembling and installing an explosive device, as well as for the transfer of funds and the coordinates of the site of the explosion in the Volgograd Region," the FSB added, giving details of the operation.
South Stream, originally intended to transport Russian gas under the Black Sea to the Bulgarian coast, was scrapped in 2014 in favor of TurkStream, which makes landfall in Turkey and can supply gas to Hungary and Bulgaria.
It came around two months after the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines were hit by unexplained leaks. Russia accused the United Kingdom of 'directing and coordinating' explosions on the gas pipelines on the floor of the Baltic Sea.
The preliminary results of a Sweden-Denmark probe showed that the blasts had been "intentional sabotage."
In a separate development on Thursday, European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc was pressing ahead with a ninth sanctions package against Russia in response to its military operation in Ukraine, now into its tenth month.
The European Commission chief did not provide details of what measures the new round of EU sanctions could entail.