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Crimean official calls not to underestimate Kiev’s provocations near Black Sea oil rigs

December 16, 2015, 13:36 UTC+3 BAKHCHISARAI

The border guards of Russia’s Federal Security Service had to send a patrol boat on Tuesday to protect Chernomorneftegaz rigs from Ukrainian warships

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© Alexei Pavlishak/ITAR-TASS

BAKHCHISARAI, December 16. /TASS/. The danger of Ukraine’s actions should not be underestimated after Ukrainian warships sailed close to drilling rigs of Crimea’s state oil and gas company Chernomorneftegaz off the Black Sea peninsula, Crimean Parliament Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov told TASS on Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian government is very seriously extremist. As long as they are in power, everything can be expected from them and we’re constantly saying about that. The persons who have seized power with sub-machine guns have quite a different thinking. This will be a problem until the Ukrainian people replace them," the Crimean parliament speaker said.

The border guards of Russia’s Federal Security Service had to send a patrol boat on Tuesday to protect Chernomorneftegaz rigs from Ukrainian warships, which had displayed increased interest in the work of the Russian state company in the Black Sea.

In particular, the Ukrainian military tried to get information on the number of people working on the platform of the Odessa hydrocarbon deposit, took photos and made video footage of equipment.

Meanwhile, Crimean Head Sergey Aksyonov told TASS he saw no danger from Ukraine for Chernomorneftegaz drilling platforms.

"No one can threaten Russia with a military force. Well, some ships passed by and perhaps some other vessels will sail nearby tomorrow. We generally do not respond to this. I personally do not see any threat. Well, who can threaten Russia? Especially Ukraine’s threat looks ludicrous," the Crimean head said.

Hydrocarbon deposits on the Black Sea shelf came under Russia’s jurisdiction after Crimea reunited with Russia, following a referendum on the Black Sea peninsula in March 2014.

However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Kiev will seek regaining control of Black Sea deposits in a judicial manner.

Ukraine’s Justice Ministry "is gathering information" within its competence on this case. "Besides, Naftogaz of Ukraine has claims to Chernomorneftegaz," Ukrainian Energy and Coal Minister Vladimir Demchishin said in October.

Established in 1979, Chernomorneftegaz is currently the sole oil and gas producing company in Crimea. The company is developing hydrocarbon deposits off the Black and Azov seas and on the Black Sea peninsula onshore area. Chernomorneftegaz is currently continuing its operations in a normal regime on the Odessa hydrocarbon deposit, from which natural gas is supplied to Crimea.

Crimea used to be part of Russia from 1784 until 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in a voluntaristic act. Crimea remained part of independent Ukraine after the USSR collapsed in 1991.

A people’s referendum was held in Crimea on March 16, 2014, in which most people voted for reuniting with Russia. On March 18, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Crimea’s re-integration into Russia.

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