By Associated Press - Tuesday, April 30, 2019

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian oil company has asked state security services to investigate a small private company accused of pushing contaminated oil through an export pipeline to Belarus.

In a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Transneft CEO Nikolai Tokarev said that a private firm in the Samara region was responsible for the contaminated deliveries.

Tokarev told Putin that the company, which he did not identify, was funneling untreated oil into the pipeline, calling the move “pure fraud.”

Putin said it had caused “very serious” damage to Russia’s image as an oil exporter as well as to infrastructure.

Belarus, which is the first stop on the pipeline, halted deliveries last week amid concerns the contaminated oil could damage refineries. Other countries followed suit.

Oil deliveries resumed Tuesday, Transneft said.

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