Oil pipeline linked to Putin’s infamous kum returned to Ukraine
Viktor Medvedchuk. Photo: EPA

A Ukrainian court has confirmed the return to state ownership of the part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline, linked to the father of Vladimir Putin’s godchild and infamous Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk.

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The state property fund, tasked with managing confiscated assets, announced the court’s decision, which was passed in late June, on Wednesday.

The Samara-Western Direction oil pipeline was built back in 1957 and 1968. After Ukraine declared independence, it was supposed to become state property but, for many years, was used by the Russian company Transnefteprodukt.

The Ukrainian section of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline, about 800 kilometres long, is designed to pump diesel fuel from Russia and Belarus to Ukraine and transit to Europe.

Until February 2021, it was operated by PrykarpatZakhidtrans, a company owned by Belarusian businessman Nikolai Vorobey and German citizen Anatoly Schaefer. Mr Schaefer was associated with Mr Medvedchuk's entourage, although the latter denied any connection with the pipeline and the supply of oil products to Ukraine.

Since 2011, courts have more than once heard cases related to the ownership of the Samara-Western Direction oil pipeline.

In 2017, Ukraine’s anti-graft agencies launched an investigation into the circumstances of the transfer of the pipeline’s ownership, suspecting the court’s decisions to be influenced by Mr Medvedchuk.

In February 2021, the Ukrainian national security and defence council ordered the return of the PrykarpatZakhidtrans oil product pipeline to state ownership, and the pipeline was subsequently seized.

Meanwhile, the state property fund filed a court case asking that the state ownership of the Samara-Western Direction oil pipeline be recognised.

In May, the operator of the system of national oil pipelines, Ukrtransnafta, transferred to the state budget more than UAH 10 million from the management of the arrested oil pipeline.