Yury Grimchak, the deputy minister for temporarily occupied territories – the official Ukrainian definition for the rebellious self-proclaimed republics in the country’s southeast – revealed the plans Thursday during a talk show aired on the Zik news channel. Grimchak claimed Kiev had been considering to blow up the “Russian gas pipe” in 2014-2015.
“You think there’ve been no plans to blow up the gas transit system on our side? I’m telling you about state-level plans,”Grimchak stated. He added there had been a lot of “hot shots” in the General Staff and other government bodies back then.
Another guest on the show, Yury Kasyanov, a notorious “volunteer” in Ukraine’s crackdown on the rebel regions, said he personally had plans to blow up the pipeline. While Ukrainian radicals have repeatedly voiced the idea to sabotage the Ukrainian gas transit system in order to disrupt Russian gas from flowing to European customers, Grimchak’s revelations appear to be the very first admission to the existence of such thoughts within the government itself.
Should those schemes have come to fruition, it could have deprived the EU of some 60 billion cubic meters of gas, or about a third of Europe’s massive imports of Russian gas. The transit system, however, remained intact, and thus avoided what Grimchak termed a full-blown “Russian aggression.”
The authorities that seized power in Ukraine as a result of the 2014 coup blame Russia for the conflict in the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk. There, two self-proclaimed republics formed shortly after the uprising, resisting the new government in Kiev and striving for independence.
Kiev responded with a military crackdown it officially calls an ‘anti-terrorist operation.’ Without providing any conclusive evidence, Ukrainian authorities accuse Moscow of covertly sending troops to flood the Lugansk and Donetsk areas. Russia has denied the allegations and has pushed for a peaceful settlement between Kiev and the breakaway regions.