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Poroshenko dismisses Dnipropetrovsk Governor Kolomoisky

March 25, 2015, 3:25 updated at: March 25, 2015, 3:43 UTC+3
Valentin Reznichenko was appointed as acting Dnipropetrovsk Governor
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) and Igor Kolomoisky

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) and Igor Kolomoisky

© Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian president's press service/TASS

MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dismissed Dnipropetrovsk Governor Igor Kolomoisky, the official website of the Ukrainian president said on Wednesday.

"Igor Valeryevich Kolomoisky is dismissed from the post of the chairman of Dnipropetrovsk regional administration," the decree published on the website says.

Valentin Reznichenko was appointed as acting Dnipropetrovsk Governor.

On March 22, several dozen armed men in masks seized the head office of Ukraine’s oil major Ukrnafta in Kiev. Earlier, Sergey 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 defense 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 Kolomoyskyi, and eight percent are held by companies registered in Cyprus.

On March 19, Ukrtransnafta’s (another company owned by Dnepropetrovsk region governor Kolomoyskyi) supervisory board dismissed Alexander Lazorko from the post of the company’s board head and appointed Yury Miroshnik acting chairman of the board. Later reports said that the building of the company was seized by "gunmen led by Kolomoyskyi." 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 tons 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.

Russia has initiated criminal proceedings against Kolomoyskyi on charges of organization of murders; the use of banned means and methods of warfare; abductions and also for putting up obstacles to journalists’ work. He has been arrested in absentia and put on the international wanted list.

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