Feb 21, 2021
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Kiev takes control of the transit of diesel fuel from Russia

Kiev takes control of the transit of diesel fuel from Russia

Photo: Nikolay Nikitin / TASS

The Ukrainian authorities decided to nationalize the section of the pipeline “Samara – Western Direction”, through which diesel fuel from Russia and Belarus is supplied for the needs of the “Square”, as well as to Europe. We are talking about a branch with a length of about 1.5 thousand km, which is operated by LLC “PrykarpatZapadtrans”.

The fact is, Kiev suddenly remembered that the main pipeline transport is of great strategic importance. And they decided to withdraw the pipe in favor of the state, as well as to check how such an object ended up in the ownership of a commercial structure.

This “important issue of energy security” was raised on Friday, February 19, at a meeting of the NSDC in the presence of the President Vladimir Zelensky… Head of the Security Council Alexey Danilin expressed at the meeting bewilderment why the oil pipeline is illegally used by foreign companies owned by Ukrainians. He, as he said, is “incomprehensible”, since there was no privatization of this object through the State Property Fund.

According to open sources, one can judge that “PrykarpatZapadtrans” is owned by two: Anatoly Shefer, a resident of Switzerland and a Belarusian businessman Nikolay Vorobei… However, in a number of Ukrainian mass media this company is persistently trying to associate with one of the leaders of the “Opposition Platform – For Life”, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Viktor Medvedchuk

Moreover, the publication “Strana” put forward a version that the sanctions imposed on the politician and his wife Oksana Marchenko in Ukraine (all their property and business, as you know, are blocked with the wording “for financing terrorism”) are related to this asset.

Although the same Danilov did not explicitly state such a relationship at a briefing after the well-known meeting.

Ukrainian journalists also drew attention to the fact that the “oil pipeline topic” has sharply intensified the other day, after NABU handed suspicion to an expert, whose conclusion formed the basis of the court verdict, according to which in 2017 PrykarpatZapadtrans gained control over part of the pipe. But the anti-corruption agency itself, notes Strana, did not say anything about the company’s ownership to Medvedchuk.

Nevertheless, in order to dispel all rumors and speculations on this topic, on February 11, OLS made an official statement, which indicated that “neither Medvedchuk nor his family members had and have nothing to do with the said asset, as well as with the supplies and sales of diesel fuel and liquefied gas ”.

SP asked to comment on the situation Director of the Kiev Center for Political Marketing Vasily Stoyakin:

– In fact, the question is difficult. Mainly because questions regarding ownership of certain assets on the territory of Ukraine are generally non-transparent. That is, a huge number of enterprises and facilities, including those of strategic importance, are owned by offshore companies that are formally located somewhere in Cyprus or the Cayman Islands. And, in reality, it is not clear where. And, most importantly, it is completely unclear who the specific beneficiary is.

As for this product pipeline, yes, there were statements that it allegedly belongs to Medvedchuk or Oksana Marchenko. But if Medvedchuk says that this is not so, it is not forbidden to believe him. I’m just not in the subject.

True, as far as I know Viktor Vladimirovich, if something does not belong to him, then he speaks about it directly. Therefore, I trust his statement more than Danilov’s statement.

As far as I understand, the “operation” with this oil product pipeline is part of a campaign to put pressure on Viktor Medvedchuk, personally, and on the political party he leads.

At the first stage, three television channels were illegally banned. Now they are trying to use sanctions to knock out financial instruments and the possibility of restoring their work, financing the party and everything else.

In fact, the personal sanctions imposed against Medvedchuk are much more significant than the hysteria surrounding this pipeline. Because who it belongs to is really not clear.

And the fact that a people’s deputy is now legally prohibited from using his property is simply unprecedented.

“SP”: – How is this possible without a trial?

– What are you about? This is the purest power technique. There are no court decisions, no suspicions of a crime. No, in my opinion, there is not even a criminal case.

“SP”: – But there is a loud wording – “for the financing of terrorism” …

– You see, I listened to Danilov’s statement and it does not follow from it that there are some legal facts proving that Medvedchuk somehow financed something. It follows from the speech of the Secretary of the Security Council that he controls some kind of oil refinery in Russia, whose products are sold in Ukraine, including through the Donbass.

But, firstly, such things should be proven, again, in court. And for some reason I think that they will not bring this case to court.

I would like to remind you of one more interesting fact – about the “financing of terrorism”.

When in the Verkhovna Rada a group of deputies from the “right” factions proposed, in principle, to prohibit the trade of oil products between Ukraine and Russia, a representative of the General Staff urgently arrived in the Rada and made a wild hysteria. Based on the fact that Ukrainian tanks actually run on Russian diesel fuel.

“SP”: – Diesel fuel is supplied via this line. So, maybe someone in Ukraine just wanted to arrange a redistribution of property and clean up this asset for themselves?

– In theory, this could be. But this is too tricky a game for the current administration.

In the year before last, one could easily assume that, for example, Igor Kolomoiskyhaving significant interests in the oil and gas sector, could attend to gaining control over such an object.

Moreover, Igor Valerievich, as I understand it, would be quite satisfied with the fact that the object itself is returned to state ownership. Because he has good “tails” in management and the corresponding state-owned companies, and such a scheme could be interesting to him.

But this was relevant a year and a half ago. And now Zelensky is diligently fencing off from his former benefactor.

Therefore, I am not sure that this is being done in his interests. And there is no certainty that this can be done in the interests of some other Ukrainian oligarch, one of those who are now closer to the Ukrainian authorities than Kolomoisky.

For some reason it seems to me that this is a pure political move. Moreover, at the level of the competence of the current administration. They somewhere, once heard that the oil and gas business between Ukraine and Russia is somehow connected with Medvedchuk, and decided to strike a “decisive blow” in order to undermine Medvedchuk’s position.

In any case, you can declare your decisive victory.

Igor Yushkov, Leading Analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, expert of the Financial University under the Government of Russia believes that the “intraspecific Ukrainian struggle” will most likely have no effect on the transportation of oil products to Europe:

– The oil product pipeline runs along the route from Russia to the territory of Belarus, where it splits into two branches. The first goes north, through the Novopolotsk refinery, to Latvia. And the second – the same – goes through the Mozyr refinery in transit through Ukraine to Hungary.

And now we are talking about this southern branch in the Ukrainian section.

From one and a half to two million tons of diesel fuel are pumped through it a year. In fact, there were no problems with the Ukrainian side here. And it is not a fact that they will arise due to a change in ownership. Russia as a whole does not care who owns the pipe there, the main thing is that he does not politicize this issue, but works normally.

If they start to set some conditions, from the series “we are pumping the Russian with an increased transit rate” or “we are not pumping the Russian”, or some political nagging starts, then this pipe will simply be drained.

Theoretically, there is the capacity to transfer everything to other directions. Again, you can ship the same diesel to European countries by sea.

Therefore, it will not work to blackmail Russia here. If they are simply sharing the profit among themselves, then this will not affect our interests. There will be not one, so another will receive this money.

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