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Ukrainian Interior Minister Says Too Dangerous To Repair Damaged Power Towers

November 23, 2015
by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

KYIV -- The Ukrainian Interior Minister says just one of the four damaged transmission towers carrying electricity to Crimea can be repaired at the moment.

Arsen Avakov told an emergency cabinet meeting on November 23 that the possible presence of mines and the threat of 'subversive attacks' made repair work impossible.

Some 1.5 million residents of Crimea have been without power after four electricity transmission towers were blown up in Ukraine's Kherson region near the peninsula on November 21.

A state of emergency remained in effect on November 23 and gas-powered generators were providing electricity to the cities of Simferopol, Yalta, and Saky -- as well as Russian Navy installations at Sevastopol.

Groups of Crimean Tatar activists have reportedly been preventing engineers from reaching the sites to carry out repairs.

The veteran leader of the Crimean Tatars, Ukrainian lawmaker Mustafa Dzhemilev, said on November 22 that talks on resuming electricity supply from Ukraine to Crimea would be possible only after 'all Ukrainian citizens jailed in Russia in politically motivated cases' were freed and a commission to investigate killings and disappearances of the Crimean Tatars was created.

Although Crimea was annexed by Moscow in March 2014 in a move that has led to international sanctions against Russia, Ukrainian authorities have continued to supply power to the peninsula.

With reporting by Reuters, BBC, TASS, and Interfax

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/ukraine-crimea-black-out-pylons-russia/27381110.html

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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