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State of emergency over Crimean power blackout to last until New Year — leader

December 01, 2015, 16:17 UTC+3

Crimea declared a state of emergency on November 22 after explosions cut off electricity supply from Ukraine

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Yalta residents walking by the Black Sea, Crimea

Yalta residents walking by the Black Sea, Crimea

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, December 1. /TASS/. The state of emergency introduced in Crimea amid the suspended power supply from Ukraine will last until the New Year, the head of the republic, Sergey Aksyonov, said on Tuesday.

"I think the state of emergency will be in force until the New Year, at least, until everything resumes its natural course," Aksyonov said in an interview with TASS.

The situation with electricity supplies to the peninsula should normalize after the launch of the first leg of the so-called energy bridge from southern Russia’s Krasnodar Territory scheduled for December 20.

"We expect that the first leg will give at least 260 MW. We already understand how the distribution will happen: first, the residential areas will receive additional supply," Aksyonov said.

Aksyonov stressed that the launch of the first leg will not solve the problem entirely and will cover only half of the peninsula’s needs as the boiler stations will start working.

"Besides, when we solve the issues of heating and electricity supplies to residential houses, we will need to launch industrial enterprises somehow," the head of the republic said, adding that the priority is still to ensure power supplies for all the residents.

Crimea declared a state of emergency on November 22 after explosions cut off electricity supply from Ukraine. This forced the peninsula to rely on generators. Authorities have introduced a schedule of rotating blackouts.

Work is in full swing to launch an energy bridge from mainland Russia to Crimea along the Kerch Strait seabed to have electric power - cut off when key supply pylons were damaged by Ukrainian radicals - restored by the New Year holidays.

Heating has already been returned to more than half the peninsula's multi-storey apartment houses, the republic’s government reports on its website, specifying that as of Tuesday, this is 747 houses or 52% of all apartment blocks there. Work to launch the heating season in full is to be finished by December 7.

Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov is personally controlling the work of mobile sources of electricity supply and monitoring socially important facilities. Special attention was paid to families with many children and elderly residents, he told TASS.

Crimea received electricity supply from Ukraine’s Kherson region via four power transmission lines. On November 22, all four were damaged by Ukrainian radicals, cutting the peninsula's current.

This has forced Crimea to rely on generators. Authorities declared a state of emergency and introduced a schedule of rotating blackouts.

Crimean blockade 

The blockade of Crimea that started on September 20 may end after Ukraine ousts its incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, Sergei Aksyonov said.

"It is impossible to build any political relations with this crazy government (of Ukraine - TASS). I am convinced we will improve our relations with Ukraine and the border will open as soon as the incumbent president of Ukraine is ousted from power," Aksyonov said in an interview with TASS.

On September 20, the deputies of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament), Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov, as well as Lenur Islyamov, Crimea’s former vice-premier and the owner of the ATR TV channel, imposed a food blockade on the peninsula. Activists of the Mejilis of Crimean Tatars, which is not registered in Russia, and members of the Right Sector extremist movement, which is banned in Russia, are stopping trucks with Ukrainian food at the border with Crimea.

Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov blames Kiev for the blockade.

"Who are these people on the border? It even looks funny! Two Crimean Tatars are blocking the soldiers of Ukrainian armed forces. They could have staged a more impressive show. But apparently they are trying to save the money," Aksyonov stressed.

On the whole, the Crimean authorities have no illusions. They do not think that Ukraine is going to lift the food or energy blockade of Crimea. "We have erased the period of our joint history with Ukraine forever. They are simply widening the gap, which used to be between us. But they are harming the citizens of Ukraine, in the first place," Aksyonov said.

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