Ukraine has resumed providing electricity to the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, a state energy official said on Monday, more than two weeks after power lines to the peninsula were blown up by unknown attackers, causing widespread blackouts.
Since Nov. 22 the power cuts have left the region of 2 million with no power, exposing how dependent the peninsula remains on Ukraine, a year and a half after it broke away to join Russia.
"We are in the process of resuming energy supplies," said Igor Boska, regional head of Ukrainian energy utility Ukrenergo.
The Russian Energy Ministry confirmed that the electric supply to Crimea has resumed.
Crimea receives at least 70 percent of its electricity from Ukraine. On December 2, Crimea received its first electricity supply from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the opening of the power bridge across the Kerch Strait.
Following the attack on the power lines, pro-Ukranian activists, including many ethnic Tatars who oppose Crimea’s annexation, have been denying repair workers access to the damaged pylons in Kherson, a southern region in the Ukrainian mainland .
After negotiations, Tatar leader Lenur Islamov said the engineers had been allowed to continue their work.
"We have allowed (them) to switch the line on," he told the 112 television channel.
Russia, meanwhile, has started to build an undersea cable to Crimea to bypass Ukraine.