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KIEV, April 26 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine had closed sluices of the North Crimean Canal, halting water supply from the Dnieper River to the peninsula, Ukraine's UNIAN news agency reported on Saturday.
Crimea received 85% of fresh water through the canal, which was built in 1961-1971. It streches from the Khakhovka Reservoir to Kerch.
Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov told the CrimeaInform news agency that restrictions on the supply of water to Crimea is an act of sabotage.
“Ukraine’s act of sabotage to limit the supply of water to the republic through the North Crimean Canal is nothing but a deliberate action against Crimeans,” he said.
Aksyonov said “negotiations are underway with Ukraine at the federal level” to resolve the issue. “There are backup plans. In any case, Crimea will not be left without water. As for drinking water, there are no problems with it,” he said.
The prime minister said that the Crimean authorities were engaged in negotiations with all agricultural producers who have been cut off from water supply from the North Crimean Canal. “The rice situation … is the worst. Crimea is redrawing the map of crop areas in regions where irrigation may not be available,” he said, adding that alternative areas were being offered to agricultural producers.
“The federal budget is ready to compensate agricultural producers for possible losses,” Aksyonov said. He recalled that this issue had been discussed with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. “Special conditions have been created for Crimea. No one will be left without help,” the prime minister said.
“We are also considering an alternative plan for drilling wells and we are working on this day and night,” he added.
Aksyonov stressed that “the persons who have seized power in Ukraine, including former residents of Crimea, Senchenko and Kunitsyn, are acting like enemies trying to cause their former fellow citizens harm. But they will get a proper assessment from the people of Crimea and will always be persona non-grata in the republic. Usually, those who mischief hatch, mischief catch,” he said.