UPDATE: 12:50 a.m. EST -- A state of emergency has been declared in Crimea after pylons carrying electricity from Ukraine were "blown up," cutting off power to 2 million people, media and the Russian government said Sunday.
While the government has not confirmed the reason behind the outages, Russian media reported, according to Reuters, that two pylons in the Kherson region of Ukraine north of Crimea had been blown up by Ukrainian nationalists.
Two million people living in Crimea were cloaked in darkness Saturday night after four transmission towers ferrying power lines into the disputed region from Ukraine reportedly exploded. The pylons were “blown up” by an unknown party, Russian media reported, and images circulating on social media appeared to show Ukrainian flags hanging from the affected towers.
“Crimea is completely cut off,” Viktor Plakida, director of Crimea Energy, told Russia's TASS news agency, as quoted by BBC News Saturday. TASS also quoted a bulletin from a local emergency response unit, saying, “Due to the complete shut off from the Ukrainian power grid, the Crimean grid is operating in standalone mode.”
Ukraine has continued to supply Crimea with power, even after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula in March 2014. Russia Today, a Russian media outlet, reported Saturday that “unidentified saboteurs damaged two” of four transmission towers, though Crimean authorities were prevented from reaching the site by activist groups. Backup power sources are reportedly supplying hospitals and other emergency services with electricity.
— Eugene Yaroslavsky (@_eyar_) November 21, 2015
— Телеканал ЗВЕЗДА (@zvezdanews) November 21, 2015