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Crimea seeks to initiate talks with Kiev to allow Dnieper water into peninsula

"This is not Dnieper River water belonging to Ukraine, this is our water flowing from Russian territory," Russia's envoy to the Crimea explained
North Crimean Canal Alexei Pavlishak/TASS
North Crimean Canal
© Alexei Pavlishak/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, August 12. /TASS/. Crimean officials intend to ask the Russian leadership to initiate negotiations with Ukraine to let the Dnieper River waters, which originate in Russia, into the peninsula, Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Council of Ministers Georgy Muradov said on Monday.

"This is not Dnieper River water belonging to Ukraine, this is our water flowing from Russian territory," he told a council session looking into ways to improve Crimea’s investment climate.

According to Muradov, initiating negotiations is essential for settling many problems in the northern part of Crimea.

Crimea first faced a water shortage in April 2014, when Ukraine stopped supplying Dnieper water through the North Crimean Canal, which had used to meet 90% of the peninsula’s necessities. The eastern and northern parts of Crimea were the hardest hit by the water shortages back then.

With the support of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, a project has been put in place in Crimea to use ground water to meet the needs of the local population. In September 2016, the construction of three water intake facilities was completed and 36 wells were drilled, bringing the total amount of water delivered during the day to 195,000 cubic meters, enough to supply the roughly 400,000 residents of eastern Crimea. This has served as a temporary solution that is still in place.

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 the authorities in Kiev who seized power amid riots that sparked 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 Russia. On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaties. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.