There was some expectation following the loud public response following Ukraine's shut down of power to Crimea on Christmas Eve, that Kiev would treat the territory which it alleges is still part of Ukraine as, well, part of Ukraine. And sure enough, a few hours after the regionwide blackout was first reported, Ukraine restored power. Until today, when moments ago we learned that not only did Ukraine cut off electricity to Crimea earlier today, but also halted train services, moves which, according to the WSJ, could raise tensions with Russia, but which also will harden the local popluation's pro-Russian determination even further.
Repeated power blackouts in Crimea. Here's Sevastopol 10 mins ago. Cars are the only illuminated objects pic.twitter.com/S6ZnIAodgx— idaltae (@idaltae) December 26, 2014
Crimea’s Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Egorov told Russia’s Interfax news agency that power was cut off at 1:50 p.m. Friday without warning. He said backup diesel generators and mobile turbine power plants were supplying critical infrastructure with electricity. More from WSJ:
The power cutoff is the second this week by Ukraine, which says it has electricity shortages of its own because rebels have halted shipments of coal to its power plants. The cutoff in railway services, however, could indicate Ukraine is stepping up its pressure of the peninsula.
Ukraine’s state rail company Ukrzaliznytsia on Friday said it would stop passenger and cargo train services to Crimea “in order to insure the safety of passengers.” The move will affect both Ukrainian and foreign trains traveling to the peninsula, the company said. It didn’t indicate when services would resume.
More from ABC:
Ukraine's state rail company Ukrzaliznytsia has suspended passenger and cargo train services to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea due to security concerns.
Ukrzaliznytsia said cargo trains would be suspended from Friday while passenger routes would gradually cease running over the weekend and on Monday.
The company did not say how long the suspensions would be in place or specify what the security concerns were.
"In order to ensure the safety of passengers ... (the railway) will cut the route of trains to Crimea off at Novooleksiyvka and Kherson," Ukrzaliznytsia said in a statement, referring to two towns on the Ukrainian mainland near Crimea.
Back to the WSJ:
Cutting supplies to Crimea may be a lever of influence for Kiev, since the matter has become a headache for Moscow after it annexed the territory in March. Crimea has no overland connection to Russia and has traditionally relied on a land bridge to Ukraine for essentials such as food, power and water.
Alternatively, it may simply force Russia to find an alternative solution much faster than it would have otherwise, much in the same way western financial pressure on Russia has forced the Kremlin and Beijing to accelerate their mutual cooperation not only in the field of energy infrastructure and natgas deals, but has led to China openly providing financial support to the country which is isoleted by the debt-monetizing west, if not by the BRIC countries and other non-US allies, whose combined population is well over half that of the world.