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Wed, 18 Jun 2014 09:08:01 +0000
(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Ukrainian officials believe terrorists were behind Tuesday's explosion of a natural gas pipeline about halfway between Kiev and the eastern region where separatists are trying to break free from the central government.
The timing of the blast was suspicious, given it occurred just one day after the Russian energy company Gazprom said it was cutting off natural gas to Ukraine and won't make new deliveries until Ukraine settles a $2 billion bill.
Things had been relatively peaceful between Moscow and Kiev until last February's ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president and the subsequent split of Crimea from Ukraine, leading to current crisis in the east and new demands that the natural gas bill is paid in full.
In spite of the powerful blast, the flow of natural gas that is still in the pipeline was not disrupted, allowing deliveries to continue to Ukrainian and European customers.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said they were investigating the cause of the pipeline explosion, which they claim to be the result of sabotage.
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