KIEV, March 22. /TASS/. Several dozen armed men in masks have taken control of the head office of Ukraine’s oil major Ukrnafta in Kiev, a TASS correspondent reports from the site on Sunday.
The TASS correspondent says these men are welding iron fences around the building to block access to it. Some have automatic guns. They refuse to provide any comment.
Earlier on Sunday, Sergei Leshchenko, a lawmaker with the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, wrote on his Facebook account that Ukrnafta office had been blocked by servicemen from the Dnepr-1 battalion. "The entryway is blocked by people with guns. After a rather lengthy exchange, one of them - wearing a black helmet - said they were men from the Dnepr-1 battalion. He refused to say what the battalion of the Dnepropetrovsk’s territorial defence was doing in Kiev," he wrote.
Ukraine’s biggest oil company Ukrnafta accounts for more than 86% of Ukraine’s oil production, for 28% of gas condensate production and 16% of gas production. Naftogaz Ukrainy holds the controlling stake /50% + 1 share/, 42% are held by structures of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, and eight percent are held by companies registered in Cyprus.
On March 19, Ukrtransnafta’s /another company owned by Dnepropetrovsk region governor Igor Kolomoisky/ supervisory board dismissed Alexander Lazorko from the post of the company’s board head and appointed Yuri Miroshnik acting chairman of the board. Later reports said that the building of the company was seized by "gunmen led by Kolomoisky." However, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Kiev’s law enforcement agencies took Uktransnafta’s premises under control.
According to media reports, in April-May 2014 Ukrtransnafta pumped 675,000 tonnes of process oil from the county’s trunk pipelines without permission of the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk demanded then that the law enforcement agencies initiate criminal proceedings and prosecute those responsible for illegal siphoning off of oil.