Crimea was completely cut off from Ukraine’s electricity supplies overnight to November 22 after two power transmission lines were blown up in the Kherson Region. As many as 1.64 million Crimean residents were left without electricity. However, the subversive act has affected the Ukrainian energy system as well – two districts in the Kherson Region remain without electric power supply.
Also, Crimea’s disconnection from Ukraine’s electricity supplies will intensify the construction of a power link Russia is building between the southern Krasnodar Region and the Black Sea peninsula. As a result, the Ukrainian electric power system may lose the market that has yielded almost $12 million in revenues in the nine months of this year alone.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has opened a criminal case in “the deliberate damage done to the electric power facilities.” Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk have not commented on the situation yet.
No one has claimed responsibility yet for blowing up the power transmission towers but experts believe that the subversion acts were organized by Ukrainian right-wing nationalists and radically-minded ex-heads of Crimean Tatars.
Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People that has not been officially registered either in Russia or Ukraine, promised to cut Crimea off electricity in late September. Also, Crimean Tatar radicals have been blocking the Ukrainian commercial transport on the territory of Crimea since September 20 with the support of the Right Sector radical organization and other Ukrainian right-wing forces. Characteristically, the accident area has been encircled by militia of the Right Sector organization, preventing specialists from starting repairs.
“Crimea’s disconnection is a provocation that will have very grave consequences,” Ukrainian political scientist Vadim Karasyov was quoted by Ukraine’s Vesti web portal as saying.
“Crimea is the sole thing that keeps us in parallel operation of the energy systems of Ukraine and Russia. If Russia switches us off, we’ll at least have to introduce rolling blackouts. Aside from this, there are no stocks of anthracite and normal coal at thermal power plants. This will make the whole country grind to a halt,” the expert said.
“This was organized by Chubarov and other leaders of the Mejlis,” President of the Center of Political Studies Sergei Mikheyev told TASS. “The technical work was done by the Right Sector,” he added. “They even took photos against the background of the blown-up power transmission towers and are presenting this as their own victory.”
“This once again proves the insanity of the Ukrainian politicum: people are blowing up power transmission lines on their own territory, cutting off electricity supply for whole districts of their own country, creating a lot of financial problems for themselves and believe that they are achieving a victory in this way,” the expert said.
“It seems to me that this is a symbolic act generally characterizing the entire current situation and the current Ukrainian leadership: ‘We’ll make worse for ourselves to do harm to a neighbor.’ This self-destructive logic of the Maidan continues to develop and manifest itself in various places,” he added.
“The blow-up of electricity transmission lines itself is evidence that the processes currently taking place in Ukraine are not controlled by the central authorities,” Deputy Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Tamara Guzenkova told TASS.
“But this is actually a real terrorist act. In general, we see the schizophrenia of Ukrainian life,” the expert said.
Kiev would not like to further exacerbate relations with right-wing radicals, she added. “The Ukrainian authorities have driven themselves in a trap and do not understand what to do,” the expert said.