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Tower of power line to Crimea exploded in Ukraine’s Kherson region

October 20, 2015, 13:43 UTC+3 KIEV

A transmission tower has been damaged by an explosive device, local police official says

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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

KIEV, October 20. /TASS/. Unidentified perpetrators have exploded a tower of the power transmission line to Crimea in Ukraine’s Kherson region near the border village of Chongar, Ilya Kiva, deputy head of police in the southern Kherson region, said on Tuesday.

"A transmission tower has been damaged by an explosive device," Kiva told the UNN (Ukrainian National News) agency. He said that the "tower was part of the power line feeding electricity to the occupied territory" [Kiev regards Crimea as occupied territory].

According to him, law enforcement officers have found that another transmission tower was mined. "In fact, one tower has been exploded and one mined," Kiva said.

Rescuers have been working at the scene. The investigation is underway.

Previously, on October 6, unidentified attackers damaged the tower of Ukraine’s Dzhankoi-Melitopol electricity transmission line feeding power to Crimea. Ukraine’s national energy company Ukrenergo said that the transmission tower was damaged by the supporters of blockade of Crimea. Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said that there was no power blockade of Crimea. "The ministry is supplying electricity to Crimea, we are not playing political games," he said then.

The line assault followed a warning by supporters of former Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Lenur Islyamov and Ukrainian parliament members Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov on September 20 that a Crimean food blockade would disrupt free passage of trucks carrying supplies. This was supported by extremist group Right Sector, outlawed in Russia.

Chubarov also told journalists that electricity supply to the peninsula could soon be at risk, noting this could happen in October.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry opened a criminal case over damaging the Chongar transmission tower, as well as the Dzhankoi-Melitopol power line under the Criminal Code article "intentional destruction or damage to power facilities," envisaging punishment from three to ten years in prison.

Crimea and the peninsula's Russian federal city of Sevastopol declared independence in March last year after a referendum in which nearly 97% of Crimeans and some 96% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals that same month.

Despite the referendum's convincing result, Kiev refuses to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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