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Ukrainian separatists' former Defense Minister detained in St. Petersburg


Oleg Bugrov, former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, has been detained by Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) in St. Petersburg.

According to news website, Bugrov is suspected of supplying “previously used and counterfeit” pipes to Ust-Luga, a Baltic Sea port development company co-owned by Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko. It has not yet been disclosed what role Bugrov is suspected of having played in the scheme.

The former Luhansk People’s Republic Defense Minister is being held in a St. Petersburg pre-trial detention center which belongs to the Justice Department, but is currently in use by the FSB.

Bugrov has been detained for a period of one month upon the motion of the investigative service of the Federal Security Service Directorate of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region, where he is facing criminal charges for large-scale fraud.

The Luhansk People’s Republic was proclaimed on April 27, 2014, by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The Luhansk People’s Republic is classified by Ukrainian authorities in Kiev as a terrorist organization.

Oleg Bugrov, a citizen of Ukraine and a former riot police officer (Ukraine's Berkut police), became a member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic military in 2014. In August that year, he became the Luhansk People’s Republic Defense Minister. On January 16, 2014, Bugrov was dismissed from the post. According to unofficial reports, Bugrov had attempted to remove Igor Plotnitsky from his position as the head of Luhansk People’s Republic.

Bugrov’s name has made the EU’s list of individuals sanctioned for causing unrest in Ukraine, and Ukrainian authorities consider Bugrov to be a member of a terrorist organization.

An investigation of large-scale fraud in dealings with the company Ust-Luga was launched in the summer of 2014. Oleg Bugrov is a suspect in the case. According to the investigation, one of the contractors of Ust-Luga supplied the company wit counterfeit and previously used pipes while claiming that the pipes were new. The damage is estimated to have cost millions of rubles (tens of thousands of dollars).

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