Ukraine crisis: State of emergency declared in Crimea after electricity pylons 'blown up'

Russian media reports pylons in the region of Ukraine north of Crimea were blown up by Ukrainian nationalists

Jason Bush,Alessandra Prentice
Sunday 22 November 2015 13:16 GMT
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The attacks have cut off power to almost two million people
The attacks have cut off power to almost two million people (Reuters)

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A state of emergency has been declared in Crimea after pylons carrying electricity from Ukraine were blown up cutting off power to almost two million people.

The Russian Energy Ministry didn't say what had caused the outages, but Russian media reported that two pylons in the Kherson region of Ukraine north of Crimea had been blown up by Ukrainian nationalists.

Russia's emergency services said power was being supplied to vital services on Sunday
Russia's emergency services said power was being supplied to vital services on Sunday (Reuters)

Ukraine’s Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said four power lines had been damaged and that two districts of Ukraine’s Kherson region were also left without power.

Ilya Kiva, a senior officer in the Ukrainian police, said that the pylons had been “blown up”, as did the Kherson region administration.

Crimea pylons 'blown up'

The head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, declared Monday a non-working day because of the emergency situation. The attack, if by Ukrainian nationalists opposed to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, is likely to increase tension between Russia and Ukraine. People attacked power lines to Crimea on Friday, after which a group called the Civil Blockade of Crimea prevented Ukrainian energy officials from conducting repairs.

The group, in which Crimean Tatar activists play a big role, denied it was responsible for the attacks on Friday or Saturday night. In September, Tatar activists opposed to Russia’s annexation of their indigenous homeland set up roadblocks on roads leading from Ukraine to Crimea as part of an economic blockade aimed at dramatising the plight of Tatars in Crimea.

On Saturday, the pylons damaged on Friday were the scene of violent clashes between paramilitary police and Tatars as well as the nationalist group Right Sector, Russian media reported.

A Ukrainian police representative from Kherson region told TASS news agency on Sunday that police had blocked off the area surrounding the damaged pylons and that preparations were under way for them to be repaired.

Ukraine’s Energy Ministry said one of the four damaged power lines could be repaired within 24 hours if workers were allowed safe access. State-run energy firm Ukrenergo said it hoped to finish repairs on all the lines within four days.

Reuters

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