KIEV, March 16 The Ukrainian interior ministry
said on Sunday its forces had taken full control of the
country's gas transport and distribution system and put it under
In a statement, it said the order from the prime minister
had been given "to ensure the security and smooth operation of
the country's most important infrastructure asset".
It gave no further detail or explanation. Ukraine is in
turmoil following last month's overthrow of the Moscow-backed
president and the Russian takeover of the Crimea peninsula.
With the Kremlin warning that it might send forces to
protect Russian speakers from Ukrainian nationalists, Ukrainian
media have quoted one prominent far-right group saying it could
punish a Russian invasion by attacking pipelines that carry
Russia's gas exports through Ukraine to Western Europe.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Matthew Lewis)