The Russian government has announced that they have begun supplying electricity to the Eastern Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk today, after all electricity supplies were cut by the Ukrainian government. over what they said were unpaid bills.
Donetsk and Luhansk are rebel-held parts of Ukraine, and have been since 2014. The regions have ethnic Russian majorities and rebelled over attempts to ban Russian as an official language, and curtail trade across the Russian border. Many of the rebels advocate secession.
Ukraine’s state power company claimed the regions were some $431 million in debt over non-payment of bills. Russia says that they will be providing power through pre-existing lines effective immediately to avoid loss of electricity to some 3 million people in the effected areas.
The decision by the Ukrainian government to cut power to the region appears to be an attempt to put pressure on the secessionist movement, though ironically by forcing them to turn to Russia for electricity they may further enhanced the region’s link to the Russian Federation.
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