MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. The August 23 subversive attack on a Crimean gas pipeline was masterminded by Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement on Tuesday.
"In the course of the investigation, it was established that the subversive attack had been organized by the Kherson branch of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's General Intelligence Directorate, the so-called Tavria operations unit, with the support of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, outlawed in Russia," the statement reads.
According to the FSB, in June, the perpetrators made a trip to the Ukrainian city of Kherson on instructions from one of the Mejlis leaders, where intelligence officers trained them in explosives. "Ukraine’s military intelligence promised to pay them about $2,000 for the subversive attack. An explosive device was secretly brought to Crimea in July. The attack was planned for Ukraine’s Independence Day," the FSB said.
According to the Russian security service, the attack had been authorized by Head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's General Intelligence Directorate Kirill Budanov who was involved in a failed attack in 2016, which killed an FSB officer. The attack was organized by Riza Yagyayev-Veliulayev, a Ukrainian intelligence agent who had fled Crimea after the 2016 failed terrorist attack, and his handlers: Ukrainian military intelligence officer Maxim Martynyuk and head of the Tavria operations unit Viktor Zelinsky, the FSB added.
Suspects detained for carrying out a subversive attack on a Crimean gas pipeline on August 23 have made confessions. According to the video showing the interrogation of two of the detained, the men provided details of a gas pipeline blast in the Perevalnoye settlement.
"The two of us came up to the pipeline, I took out a knife and dug a 15-centimeter deep hole, the explosive device was at ground level. We covered it with soil and left," one of the detained said. According to him, the bomb was supposed to go off within four to five hours. The suspect explained that they had been commissioned to conduct the explosion by a man they had met in Ukraine’s Kherson. "We were asked to blow up a gas pipeline in Perevalnoye, they showed us the explosive device and told us what to do with it," the detained added.
On September 4, FSB officers detained three Crimean residents, including Mejlis Deputy Chairman Nariman Dzhelyatov, who acted as a mediator, as well as the actual perpetrators, Asan and Aziz Akhmetov. "Ukraine’s military intelligence promised to pay them about $2,000 for the subversive attack," the FSB said. The FSB branch in Crimea and Sevastopol has opened a criminal case under Article 281.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (subversion), which carries penalties of 10 to 15 years in prison. All of the detained have been taken into custody.