REUTERS - A state of emergency has been declared in Crimea after power lines carrying electricity from Ukraine were blown up cutting off power to almost two million people, media and the Russian government said on Sunday.
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The Russian Energy Ministry did not say what had caused the outages, but Russian media reported that two transmission towers in the Kherson region of Ukraine north of Crimea had been blown up by Ukrainian nationalists.
The attack, if by Ukrainian nationalists opposed to Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year, is likely to further increase tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Russia's Energy Ministry said in a statement that two power lines bringing power from Ukraine to Crimea had been affected, as a result of which 1,896,000 people had been left without power.
The ministry said that a state of emergency had been declared in Crimea. It also said that emergency supplies had been turned on for critical needs and 13 mobile gas turbine generators were being prepared.
Ilya Kiva, a senior officer in the Ukrainian police who was at the scene, also said on his Facebook page that the pylons had been blown up, without giving further details.
On Saturday, the transmission towers were scene to violent clashes between activists from the Right Sector nationalist movement and paramilitary police, Ukrainian media reported.
The towers – or pylons - had already been damaged by the activists on Friday before they were blown up on Saturday night, according to these reports.