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News

State of emergency in Crimea amid second night of blackout

The administration of Russian-annexed Crimea has declared a work-free day after the peninsula was largely blacked out for a second night due to pylon damage. The perpetrators of the damage remain unknown.

Many Crimean residents went without electricity for a second night in a row on Sunday after two electricity pylons in Ukraine were damaged by explosions at around midnight on Saturday.

Russia's Energy Ministry said that mobile gas turbine generators had restored electricity to more than a quarter of the population by Sunday afternoon, mostly in major cities, but many other regions still have no power.

The Moscow-leaning administration of Crimea declared Monday work-free in face of the power outage. It also said it would start supplying power and water to households according to schedules.

The disputed Black Sea peninsula depends on mainland Ukraine for 70 percent of its electricity supplies, despite having been annexed last year by Russia in a move that drew condemnation from Kyiv and many Western countries.

Perpetrators unknown

Ukrainian police said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosions on Saturday night, but Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian nationalists are high on the list of suspects.

Another two of the four transmission towers in Kherson, Ukraine, were damaged on Friday, for reasons that remain unknown. Ukrainian activists opposed to Russia's annexation of the peninsula clashed there with police on Saturday after trying to prevent repair work, but later retreated.

All the pylons are to be replaced this week.

The incident is likely to increase tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which, as well as being angry at Moscow for the annexation of Crimea, blames it for supporting pro-Russia rebels waging an insurgency in the east of the country.

tj/kms (dpa, AP)

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