Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Will the Ukraine Get Coal for Christmas? Maybe Not, in Wake of Crimean Blackout

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On Tuesday, Energy Minister A V Novak said that Russia might respond to Kiev creating a blackout on the Crimean Peninsula by halting coal deliveries to the Ukraine, saying on Vesti-FM radio, “Maybe in this case we need to make a similar decision on halting the deliveries of coal by our commercial enterprises that deliver coal to Ukrainian electrical stations”. The Crimean blackout began on Sunday, after Ukrainian extremists blew up powerline pylons on the Ukrainian side of the border. Thus far, Ukrainian utility crews can’t repair the pylons, as extremists occupy the site and deny access to local police.

24 November 2015

Sputnik International



24 November 2015. A Note to My Readers On My Health

Filed under: personal reflections — 01varvara @ 00.00
Tags: ,

00 Sick Computer. 15.09.13


Firstly, I’d like to thank those of you who contacted me personally in re my health. I’m not ill, nor am I depressed. I had a rough patch… it was rather dicey, but I got through it all. A doctor friend suggested that I rest more, see to my diet, and take vitamins (and to see my GP if my ennui and listlessness continued). That’s worked wonders for me, but I’m still not completely up to par. Therefore, on weekdays, I’m only going to put up a few items. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for too long, and I need to give myself some proper rest to get back in shape.

Sometimes, one has to take a break… this is one such. I’ll be here, but less. Love to all youse guys… you’re the reason I persist. Remember, “Ya gotta give a shit” and “Ya gotta wanna”… all else is verbose commentary on that…


The Crimean Energy Blockade: What You Need to Know

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On Saturday, the MVDU said that activists from the group that launched the unsuccessful Kiev-sanctioned “food blockade” of the peninsula in September blew up power lines in the southern Ukraine supplying the Crimean peninsula with electricity. We’ll bring you up to speed on the energy blockade and its potential consequences.

On Friday night, blasts destroyed two of the four electrical transmission lines in Kherson Oblast in the southern Ukraine supplying power to the Crimea, with the remaining two blown up on Saturday night. Beginning Saturday, this left 1.9 million of 2.3 million Crimean residents without power, with authorities introducing a state of emergency. They dispatched over 100 teams with over 500 diesel generators to ensure power to socially important facilities, with authorities setting up an emergency schedule for the supply of electricity and water to areas hit by the outage. Energy-saving measures include shutting off streetlights and closing down entertainment venues at 22.00. A statement posted on the Crimean government website stated that schools and businesses would close Monday to save on electricity. At first, officials of the Ukrainian state energy company Ukrenergo announced that they’d try to repair the lines within 3-4 days. However, activists impeded repair crews arriving to repair the lines. Ukrenergo press secretary Zinovy Butso told 112 Ukraina TV that the activists wouldn’t allow the workers to do their work “in the coming days”. The “activists”, believed to be from the same group that unsuccessfully sought to create a food blockade of the peninsula in September, appear to have shifted tactics, and now look to prevent resumption of energy deliveries to the peninsula.

The MVDU opened four criminal cases connected with destroying the power lines, an MVDU spokesman in  Kherson Oblast explaining that the charges include one count of a deliberate attempt to damage power facilities, two of causing bodily harm to  police, and a fourth count for deliberately obstructing the work of local journalists. Earlier, Ukrenergo officials told reporters that they could restore a single 330 kW line in one day, capable of delivering 500-550 megawatts to the peninsula, thus ensuring a minimum level of power. Ukrenergo stated that they could restore a second line within 2-4 days. Now, things appear to depend on the protesters blocking crews from fixing the lines. At present, the Crimean peninsula relies on four major power lines from Ukraine for much of its electricity. These include the Melitopol-Dzhankoy line (330 kW), the Kakhovskaya-Dzhankoy line (300kW), the Kakhovskaya-Ostrovskaya line (330 kW), and the Kakhovka-Titan line (220 kW). Ukrenergo emphasised that the downing of the lines to the Crimea affected the supply of power to southern parts of the Ukraine, including Kherson and Nikolayev Oblasts. On Sunday, Ukrenergo Deputy Director General Yuri Kasich told reporters:

The situation is apparently so bad, that the shutdown of just one more element at the Kakhovskaya substation could have a cascade effect, leaving up to half of Kherson and Nikolayev Oblasts without power. I want to emphasise that the Ukrainian unified energy system is laid out in such a way that it’s impossible to separate areas, regions, or localities, and that, accordingly, any failure in the energy network, in the west or the east, can be connected, affecting the rest of the system.

Meanwhile, a source in the RF Energy Ministry told RIA Novosti that Ukrainian energy officials formally rejected offers for assistance from the RF Energy Ministry, assuring their colleagues that the situation was under control. RIA Novosti reported that Crimean Head of Government S V Aksyonov spoke to reporters on the consequences of Kiev’s apparent inability to keep its power transmission lines to the Crimea secure, noting:

If Ukrainian energy companies really believe that they don’t need our market, they’ll lose it forever, the same as happened with food. The present situation only accentuates how important the under-construction energy bridge to the Crimea from Krasnodar Krai is; it’s set to come online later this year. The bridge will effectively end the peninsula’s energy isolation, connecting it to the Russian united energy network.

For his part, Sevastopol Governor S I Menyailo urged city residents to remain calm, promising that authorities would control electricity prices for during the emergency. He added that he understood perfectly well that “if a normal situation existed in the [country] from which cut us off, we could deal with such an emergency in a day or two”. Sevastopol’s cogeneration plant and two mobile stations provide 40 percent of the city’s total electricity needs, with supplies directed firstly to social facilities, critical infrastructure, as well as heat and light to the city, its water supply, and other utility networks.

F A Klintsevich, RF Federation Council member and First Deputy Chairmen of the Committee on Defence and Security, offered a much harsher assessment of the situation, suggesting:

This artificial blackout of Crimea is an act of terrorism, and a demonstration that the Kiev authorities are either incapable of controlling the situation, or on the contrary, have provoked it themselves. It wasn’t a secret that Ukrainian nationalists wouldn’t limit themselves to a food blockade, and that they’d try to supplement that effort with an energy blockade. In fact, they’d repeatedly stated as much themselves. The blasts blowing up the power lines in Kherson Oblast near the border with the Crimea have left virtually the entire peninsula without power. This is an act of terrorism. Unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect a real search for the culprits from the Ukrainian authorities.

Meanwhile, Crimean General Procurator N V Poklonskaya suggested that Russian authorities could launch a criminal case on the downed power lines, pending an interagency meeting of security officials on Monday.

Back in September, following rhetoric from the blockade activists that they would cut off electricity supplies, Crimean First Deputy Head of Government Mikhail Sheremet said that such a blockade would trigger retaliatory measures against the Ukraine. Most, if not all, of the electricity delivered to the Crimea through the Ukraine comes from Russia, with the Ukraine merely used as transit territory.

22 November 2015

Sputnik International


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