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Crimea: state of emergency declared


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Crimea: state of emergency declared

A state of emergency has been declared in Crimea after power lines carrying electricity from Ukraine were reportedly sabotaged.

The peninsula was left in the dark after the transmission towers were toppled on Saturday.

Generators are supplying power for vital services like hospitals and communications.

But 1.9 million of Crimea’s two million-strong population remain without electricity.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 after a referendum.

Russian media are saying the pylons in the Kherson region bordering Crimea were blown up by Ukrainian nationalists.

What the papers say

Russia, Ukraine and energy

Russia and Ukraine regularly negotiate reciprocal terms for supplying each other’s electricity needs.

Russian media have reported that Ukraine’s Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said in October that Kiev intends to prolong its energy delivery contract with Russia before it expires in late December.

Food blockade may trigger a “hike in tensions” “

The power blackout comes a day after the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) High Commissioner on National Minorities told a meeting of the permanent council that a food blockade of Crimea is causing concern.

Astrid Thors said the impeded access at the border between Ukraine and Crimea, attributed to Ukrainian activists by Russian news agency Tass, may trigger a “hike in tensions”.

Who are the Crimean Tatars and the Right Sector?

Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group opposed to Russian rule, have held a protest at the site.

  • an ethnic group native to Crimean peninsula
  • origins date back to 14th century
  • 245,000 living in Crimea
  • they seek “ethnic and territorial autonomy” for Crimean Tatars using “political and legal” means

(Sources: Wikipedia, 2001 Ukrainian census,“New Republic”: http://bit.ly/1P05S7W)

Right Sector Ukrainian nationalists have also clashed with paramilitary police in the area, according to Ukrainian media.

  • umbrella organisation of far-right groups
  • became political party in March 2014
  • Russia says the group is the main reason it send troops into Crimea. However, international news agencies have found no evidence of hate crimes

(Sources: Wikipedia, BBC, Reuters, AFP, Wall Street Journal, AP)

Crimea – The Knowledge

  • Two million inhabitants
  • Annexed by the Russian Federation after referendum in 2014
  • Sovereignty currently disputed between Kiev and Moscow
  • Administered by Moscow as two “federal subjects” – the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol

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