World Bulletin / News Desk
Crimean Tatar activists along with Ukrainian nationalists have blocked repair crews from restoring the main power lines in southern Ukraine that supply Crimea on Monday.
Both Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian activists fought with security forces, preventing repairs being made to electricity transmission towers which were blown up at the weekend. Russian-annexed Crimea has been cut off from Ukrainian electricity supplies as a result of the damage.
The Crimean Tatar activists who blockaded the site said they would prevent repairs until Russia released political prisoners and allowed international organizations to monitor human rights in Crimea.
The nation of roughly 400,000 people has faced systematic repression since Russia annexed the peninsula in March 2014.
The issue of supplies coming from Ukraine has been a repeated source of tension in recent months, with Tatar and other activists also trying in September to blockade the main road leading to Crimea from Ukraine, which claims Crimea and still supplies some food and utilities to the peninsula.
Crimea’s only other road link to the outside world is a ferry line to Russia, with limited capacity. Russia plans to build an enormous bridge, but that would not be completed for at least three years.
The leadership of both the Crimean Tatars, now in exile, and a nationalist group, Right Sector, endorsed the destruction without claiming responsibility.
Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatars said that the power pylons "could have been blown away by the wind."
"Why should we supply the invader with everything he needs?" Dzhemilev, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, said. "If they have occupied our territory, then we must smoke them out."
Dzhemilev said those blockading the site would allow repairs to the power lines that supply electricity to the surrounding area in the Ukrainian region of Kherson, but not to Crimea.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine said he would begin negotiations with Tatar representatives on Monday to try to allow repair crews to begin to work.Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Kasım 2015, 17:41