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Ukraine’s interior minister gives armed people seizing oil company 24 hours to disarm

March 23, 2015, 18:46 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered to send two National Guard battalions to Dnipropetrovsk

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National Guard battalions military

National Guard battalions military


KIEV, March 23 /TASS/. The armed assaulters who have taken the Ukrnafta company headquarters under control should lay down arms in 24 hours, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.

"Personal security groups, armed with firearms, that guard businessmen and politicians will not roam the streets of towns and cities," Avakov said adding that his order applied to everybody without exception, including Igor Kolomoisky, Viktor Pinchuk, Rinat Akhmetov, etc.

"I give all security firms 24 hours - to get rid of double or triple interpretations - to bring their activities impeccably in line with the letter and spirit of the law. References to war-time alarms will not justify these crimes and will even be considered as an aggravating circumstance," Avakov wrote on Facebook.

Earlier, Sergey Leshchenko, a deputy from the Poroshenko Bloc party, wrote on Facebook that members of the Dnepr-1 battalion had blocked the building of the Ukrnafta company.

Ukrnafta is Ukraine’s biggest oil producer, which extracts more than 86% of oil; 28% of gas condensate and 16% of all hydrocarbons in Ukraine. Naftogaz Ukrainy holds the controlling block of shares in Ukrnafta (50%+1); Igor Kolomoisky owns 42% of Ukrnafta’s shares while 8% of the company’s shares are registered in Cyprus.

The head office of Ukrtransnafta, another enterprise belonging to Igor Kolomoisky, the governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, became the scene of a conflict on March 19. Ukrtransnafta’s Supervisory Council dismissed the oligarch’s protege Alexander Lazorenko as the head of the company’s board of directors. Later reports said that a group of submachine-gunners led by Kolomoisky seized the company’s building. After that, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Kiev’s law enforcers had established control over Ukrtransnafta’s office.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered to send two National Guard battalions to Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine’s National Guard wrote on Twitter. The Ukrainian president’s website has not published any such decrees as of yet.

According to media reports, in April-May 2014 Ukrtransnafta siphoned off 675,000 tons of process oil from the main oil pipeline without permission from Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining Industry.

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