Electricity has been completely cut off in Russia’s Crimean peninsula since all power transmission line towers in the neighboring Ukrainian Kherson region were “blown up” by an unknown party, TASS reports. Right Sector militants had been rioting in the area earlier.
Crimean authorities rushed to connect hospitals and other vital infrastructure to reserve power stations and generators late on Saturday after the four main transmission lines from Ukraine were cut off in an apparent act of sabotage. The regional energy ministry has created an emergency response center to deal with the power cut.
“Crimea has been completely cut off,” the Krymenergo energy company’s director Viktor Plakida told TASS, adding that he could not immediately provide any more details.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian police and journalists simultaneously posted social media reports of explosions in Chaplinka in the Kherson region, where power transmission towers supporting the lines delivering energy to Crimea are located. Photos of severed towers with a Crimean-Tatar flag hanging on one of them have been posted online.
Earlier on Friday, unidentified saboteurs damaged two of Kherson’s four electricity transmission towers, prompting Crimean authorities to issue warnings of possible power cuts. However, when local Ukrainian repairs crews attempted to reach the site, they were blocked by Crimean Tatar activists and Right Sector militants, who proclaimed they were taking the area “under protection,” TASS reported.
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The stand-off ended in clashes with Ukrainian riot police, who were dispatched to the site. Several activists were slightly injured, while one police officer was stabbed during the turmoil.
While the Ukrenergo energy company’s maintenance crew finally managed to start the repair work, dozens of Crimean Tatars gathered in Kiev at the presidential administration building to protest the police response. Radical activists called for resistance to any attempts by Ukrainian authorities to undermine the so-called “blockade” of Crimea that has been organized by several activist groups in Kherson and had initially targeted Ukrainian vehicles transporting goods for sale to the peninsula.
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