Insurgents have attacked Crimea’s power grid. Early on Friday, November 22, saboteurs set explosions which brought down pylons supporting four of the main power lines feeding large sections of the peninsula, principally the cities of Simferopol, Yalta and Saky.
When repair crews attempted to reach one of the sites (Chaplinka in the region of Kherson) where two of four transmission towers had been put out of action, they were confronted by militants who blocked their access. The militants called themselves the Civil Blockade of Crimea, reportedly a mix of Crimean Tatars and Right Sektor volunteer soldiers from Ukraine. The group declared they were taking the area “under protection” and hung Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian flags on some of the damaged towers. The stand-off was ended when riot police were dispatched to the scene. In the ensuing conflict, several militants were reportedly injured as well as one police officer.
In response, the local authorities declared a state of emergency. The director of Krymenergo declared that “Crimea has been completely cut off,” with some 1.9 million people left partly or fully without power. Important public facilities and infrastructure have since been brought back on line using reserve sources, but many homes across the region remain in the dark.
If the folks in the Kremlin thought it was all over in Crimea, they may have to revise their assessment.