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Authorities investigating whether terrorism was behind Ukraine gas line attack

Ukraine's interior ministry is investigating the cause of a gas pipeline explosion on Tuesday in the Poltava region, and are considering the possibility of sabotage.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   June 17, 2014 at 4:17 PM

KIEV, Ukraine, June 17 (UPI) -- Ukrainian authorities are investigating what caused a gas pipeline to explode on Tuesday, including looking into whether it was a terrorist act.

The explosion occurred along the Urengoi-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline in the Poltava region around 2:00 p.m. local time. No one was injured.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced via the ministry website: "An Interior Ministry operational team is conducting investigative actions to determine the causes of the blast. Several theories of the incident are being explored, including the key theory of a terrorist attack."

The interior ministry said that "a major disaster" had been averted after authorities shut down the gas supply to the pipeline and extinguished the fire.

Svitlana Rybalko, a spokeswoman for the Poltava State Emergency Situations Service, told Interfax-Ukraine that the explosion was caused by a loss of pressure. Sabotage has not been ruled out.

In response to Tuesday's explosion, Naftogaz Ukrainy --Ukraine's national oil and gas company -- said it will tighten security along the gap pipelines.

Naftogaz head Andriy Kobolev wrote via Facebook, "The situation is very alarming. It was a very strange coincidence of circumstances. We will do all we can to tighten security at all of the gas transportation systems' facilities."

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