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Putin launches 2 new power stations in Crimea on anniversary of reunification with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched new power stations in Crimea as the region marks the fifth anniversary of reunification with Russia. The facilities will boost the peninsula’s energy independence.

The Russian president came to the Balaklava power station, developed by Russian state-run conglomerate Rostec, in the city of Sevastopol on Monday to see the station start work at full capacity.

Putin also observed the opening of another facility in Simferopol and a substation in the Taman area, located across the Kerch Strait, via a video conference.

“Today we made another step towards the strengthening of energy security of the Crimean peninsula and Russia’s southern regions,” Putin said at the launch ceremony. He added that now the peninsula’s energy resources total 2,070 megawatts, enough to fully cover the region’s energy demand.

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The Russian-built power stations have been working since last October, when the first power units started operations. The construction reportedly cost $1.1 billion.

“Today's opening will symbolize full energy independence of the Crimea,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists earlier on Monday. He added that the power plants would even allow the region to transfer electricity to the mainland.

Later in the day, President Putin is expected to visit Crimean memorial sites and speak to locals and businesses about what has changed in the region since its reunification with Russia, and discuss problems they still face.

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Crimea has faced a power deficit as most of its electricity used to be provided by Ukraine. In November 2015, all four Ukrainian power lines providing electricity to the region were blown up causing a massive blackout on the peninsula and a state of emergency.

In 2016, the situation with electricity supplies improved as Russia opened the first thread of the energy bridge from the Krasnodar region across the Kerch Strait. Later that year all four power lines of the power linkup were completed, increasing the capacity to 800 megawatts.

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