SIMFEROPOL, January 2. /TASS/. Slightly less than 80% of Crimean residents were able to celebrate the New Year with electricity, Krymenergo energy company head Viktor Plakida said at a meeting of the headquarters dealing with the consequences of the energy shortage.
"Unfortunately, only 77% of Crimeans were able to see the New Year in with electricity. There were deep restrictions, they were terminated after 02:00 Moscow Time," Plakida said.
Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov pledged to punish officials who failed to ensure electricity supplies to all residential houses on the peninsula. He apologized to Crimeans who had been left without electricity on New Year’s night.
Earlier, Aksyonov said all Crimean residents will be able to mark New Year with electricity and heating.
Crimea was left without power overnight to November 22 after unknown assailants blew up electricity pylons in Ukraine’s Kherson Region. An energy saving regime was imposed on the peninsula, with many enterprises suspending their activity; rolling blackouts started in all inhabited localities.
The situation stabilized after the launch on December 2 of the first thread of the "energy bridge" from Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory, which gave the peninsula an additional 250 MW of electric power. The commissioning of the second thread of the "energy bridge" on December 15 increased its power to 400 MW.
Another two threads are to be commissioned in spring, which will make it possible to make Crimea independent of Ukrainian electric energy. Besides, the construction of two basic thermal electric power plants with the power of 940 MW has started.
Overnight to December 31, power supply of Crimea from Ukraine through the only working power transmission line "Kakhovka-Titan" was disrupted again. According to preliminary expert conclusions, an explosion caused the collapse of a power transmission line pylon.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.