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2 Feb, 2021 14:55

Crimean reservoir almost empty following water blockade from Ukraine, threatening humanitarian crisis on disputed peninsula

Crimean reservoir almost empty following water blockade from Ukraine, threatening humanitarian crisis on disputed peninsula

One of the reservoirs in the Crimean capital of Simferopol is almost running dry as the Black Sea peninsula's water crisis continues to worsen. As things stand, many parts of the region have introduced rationing.

Crimea has suffered from water shortages since 2014, when the Ukrainian government built a dam on a canal that had previously provided around 85 percent of the area's water. The infrastructure was constructed when Moscow and Kiev were both part of the Soviet Union.

Since the blockade, Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of human rights violations, and has criticized international organizations for remaining silent on the matter.

“The reserves of water in the Simferopol reservoir are almost depleted,” said Vladimir Bazhenov, the head of Crimean Water, calling the inflow “infinitesimal.”

Also on rt.com Yalta restricts water to just six hours a day as Ukraine’s supply blockade takes its toll on Crimea

In December, authorities in the seaside resort of Yalta announced that water would be restricted to just six hours a day. Prior to that, similar rules were already in place in Simferopol.

Late last year, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed that the federal government would spend five billion rubles ($64.5 million) to fix water supply issues. The Crimean authorities are also looking for their own solutions and have decided to build a desalination plant, with the possibility of constructing more in the future. However, Ukraine is determined to stop Russia from solving the problem.

“In Crimea, they said that they are trying to attract a large international company to implement desalination technology,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmitry Kuleba said. “[After the announcement] we immediately started work … and we will prevent it from implementing this project.”

Crimea was re-absorbed into Russia in March 2014, following a referendum. The vote is not recognized by Kiev, and most Western nations view Crimea as an illegally occupied Ukrainian peninsula.

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