10:16 03.03.2021

Avakov: Zelensky found political will to take unambiguous position on Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline

4 min read
Avakov: Zelensky found political will to take unambiguous position on Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline

Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov states that the sanctions imposed at the meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) on February 19 are justified by relevant documents, a number of criminal proceedings on the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline are investigated by the police.

"What was provided convinced me. There are several criminal proceedings on the same pipe, which we also have, including ... By the decision of Rivne Regional Court, it was determined that this pipe did not belong to Ukraine, and it was taken away ... And it now does not belong to Ukraine. Now imagine: all these years these comrades have been using this pipe, a huge number of cases in one way or another have been rebuffed in the judicial system, because there was a lot of money on that side and a lot of political and additional interest," Avakov said on the air of the program "Visiting Gordon" on Tuesday.

"And now Zelensky has found the will and he said: let's stop this," the Ministry of Internal Affairs emphasized.

According to Avakov, the head of state "did not hesitate - as soon as he got acquainted with the facts, he said that this is a nightmare."

As reported, the NSDC of Ukraine instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to take the necessary measures to preserve and operate a part of oil product pipelines passing through the territory of Ukraine. Law enforcement agencies have been tasked with finding out the circumstances under which state property ended up in private hands.

The Ukrainian segment of the aforementioned pipeline belongs to Rivne-based PrykarpatZakhidtrans, which operates the pipeline's section of around 1,100 kilometers intended to ship diesel fuel from Russia to Belarus both for Ukraine's domestic needs and for Europe-bound transit, including to Hungary. The pipeline's annual design capacity is 3.5 million tonnes.

Until 2016, PrykarpatZakhidtrans was a subsidiary of Russian Transneft's JSC Transnefteproduct. In February 2016, Transneft sold PrykarpatZakhidtrans to Swiss company International Trading Partners AG. Subsequently, in March 2019, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine allowed the Oil Bitumen Plant production unitary enterprise to gain control over PrykarpatZakhidtrans LLC.

PrykarpatZakhidtrans LLC, which has a charter capital of UAH 105.563 million, is owned by Oil Bitumen Plant (51%), International Trading Partners (48%), and Anatoliy Shefer (1%).

SBU said in February 2021 that, together with NABU, it documented unlawful steps taken by an expert who facilitated the removal of this strategic facility of oil and gas infrastructure from state property. NABU added that the suspect had intentionally compiled an inaccurate report that misled the Rivne region's Economic Court in August 2017 into declining to recognize the aforementioned part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline as a Ukrainian state-owned asset.

The NABU explained that the trunk pipeline in question was built back in Soviet times and, after Ukraine proclaimed independence, should have been transferred to state ownership based on the right of succession. Meanwhile, the subsidiary of Russian company Transnefteproduct did not hand over the aforementioned pipeline to Ukraine. In 2011, the Economic Court of Rivne region recognized Ukraine as the owner of this section of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline that runs through Ukrainian territory. The Appellate Court and the Higher Economic Court upheld this decision in 2014-2015.

However, because of the expert's conclusions, the Economic Court of Rivne region overturned this ruling allegedly due to new circumstances. Subsequently, in 2017, the same court recognized PrykarpatZakhidtrans as the owner of the pipeline's section on the basis of a deliberately false conclusion presented by experts from liquidated UkrGIAP, former Institute of Nitrogen Industry and Organic Synthesis Products.

PrykarpatZakhidtrans posted revenue of UAH 253.9 million in 2019, UAH 319.5 million in 2018, and UAH 262 million in 2017.

A number of media outlets called the politician and businessman Viktor Medveduchk one of the beneficiaries of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline. At the same time, the Opposition Platform - For Life party stated that Medvedchuk and his family members did not have and have no relation to the oil product pipeline.

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