Russia completes power bridges linking Crimea

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Russia completed on Wednesday the construction of energy bridges linking Crimea, putting an end to the peninsula's reliance on Ukraine for its electricity.

"We have managed to break through an energy blockade of Crimea in a short period of time," Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a video conference regarding the launch of the final electricity line.

The power bridge is four cables along the seabed across the Kerch Strait that separates Russia from Crimea.

The new line, which is the fourth and final cable, will provide Crimea with a total of 800 megawatts from Russia, which combined with the peninsula's own capacity, will be enough to meet its power needs in the summer, according to a Kremlin statement.

Meanwhile, two more power plants were under construction in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol, which will provide an additional 470 megawatts by September 2017 and another 470 megawatts in 2018.

The autonomous republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol were absorbed into Russia in March 2014 following a referendum, which was recognized by Moscow but rejected by Ukraine and Western powers.

Since then, the peninsula with a population of around 1.8 million has suffered from repeated power cuts by the Ukrainian side, and had to introduce an energy saving regime.

Russia launched on Dec. 2, 2015 the first electricity line from the coastal Krasnodar city through the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from Russia's mainland.

The second cable that was put into operation on Dec. 15 and doubled the energy bridge's capacity, and the third line on April 14 this year further relieve Crimea's energy shortage.

Russia is also building a 19-km bridge across the Kerch Strait, which is expected to be completed at the end of 2018 and would reduce Crimea's dependence on supplies, cargo and passenger traffic via Ukraine.

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