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German Foreign Ministry considers blowing up of powerline towers in Ukraine criminal act

November 23, 2015, 17:08 UTC+3 BERLIN
Crimea was left without electricity supply from Ukraine on the night of November 22
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BERLIN, November 23. /TASS/. The recent blowing up of the power transmission line towers in Ukraine towers that caused a blackout in Crimea is a criminal act, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a news conference in Berlin on Monday.

"Attacks on the infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, which, inter alia, were aimed at disconnecting Crimea from the power grid are crimes," he said. "We expect the competent bodies in Ukraine to investigate them," Schaefer said. "They result in the violation of the actual agreements on the supply of electricity to Crimea," the German Foreign Ministry official said.

According to previous reports, Crimea was left without electricity supply from Ukraine on the night of November 22. According to information from Kiev, the blackout was caused by blowing up in Ukraine of towers of the power transmission line that runs to Crimea.

Currently, all major cities of Crimea are connected to the power supply network, but due to the insufficient local generation on the peninsula Crimea has had to introduce rolling blackouts. All social facilities in Crimea are connected to the backup power supply.

Up to 500 socially significant facilities throughout Crimea, such as hospitals, maternity homes, schools, and kindergartens, have been left without electricity, but have been connected to reserve power stations and generators where possible, Crimean authorities reported. More power generators and fuel are likely to be supplied to Crimea early next week to help with the situation.

According to previous reports, electricity supply was partially restored in Russia’s naval base Sevastopol as the city transferred to the use of its own power supply sources - gas-turbine plants and diesel generators. The schedule of hourly rotating connection of residential areas in each of the four districts of the city to power supply was introduced, the Russian Emergencies Ministry reported on Sunday. The electricity supply limit was 65 MW. The city’s life support systems and socially important facilities have been connected to the backup electric power supply sources.

The state of emergency introduced in Sevastopol will be kept until the electric power supply to the peninsula is fully restored. The forces and means of the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s main department for Sevastopol have been working in an emergency mode, ready to promptly respond to every possible incident.

On the night to Sunday, Crimea was cut off from electricity supply from Ukraine, due to powerline towers’ bowing up in Ukraine’s Kherson region. The Crimean authorities introduced a state of emergency on the peninsula. There was no panic in the streets of the cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol: their social facilities have been connected to the backup power supply, and the mobile phone communication was not disrupted.

All settlements of Crimea were disconnected from electricity supply at 00:22 am, Moscow time, Sunday. Electric power supply stopped on all four powerlines running from Ukraine. Two of them went out of order on Friday due to damage done to the powerline towers as a result of explosions. "Crimea is completely cut off," director of the local power utility company Krymenergo Viktor Plakida told TASS. Journalist Osman Pashayev, a Crimean Tatar activist, reported that unknown perpetrators in the Chaplinka village of Ukraine’s Kherson region blew up the Crimean powerline towers that withstood previous blasts. Similar information was circulated by the head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s antidrug department, Ilya Kiva.

Crimea will become independent of electricity supply from Ukraine after power supply from Russia’s Krasnodar territory is organised. According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the project will be completed before the end of the year. "We are working on schedule, and by the year end we will commission the first stage of the line," the minister told reporters on November 20. The ‘energy bridge’ to Crimea is built within the framework of the Federal Target Programme for the development of Crimea until 2020. The project that envisages the laying of a cable under the Kerch Strait with the power transfer capacity of some 850 MW, is implemented to ensure independence of the Crimean Federal District from electric power supplies from Ukraine. It is expected that by 2016 the energy bridge from the Krasnodar region will be supplying to Crimea about 800 MW of electricity per day. These volumes will make it possible to lessen the burden during the winter peak load periods, when power consumption increases to 1,000-1,200 MW per day.

According to the April executive order of the Russian government, the first stage of the energy bridge with the capacity of up to 400 MW should be launched before December 25, 2015.

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