Prosecutors call blasts on Russian pipelines sabotage

Two explosions on pipelines running through southern Russia cut the natural gas supply to Georgia and Armenia early Sunday, the Emergency Situations Ministry said, and the Interfax news agency reported that prosecutors had opened an investigation into sabotage.

The agency quoted the chief prosecutor for the southern region, Nikolai Shepel, as saying an investigation had been opened on charges of deliberate destruction of property.

The explosions hit two pipelines in the region of North Ossetia, not far from the border with Georgia, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. Repair work was under way, he said.

ITAR-Tass quoted an Emergency Situations Ministry official in North Ossetia, Vladimir Ivanov, as saying that it would take two to three days to complete repairs.

In recent years, Russian pipelines in the turbulent south have occasionally been damaged in explosions that investigators have declared was sabotage, but the blasts have not caused major supply disruptions, AP reported. V.A.