Ukrainian officials say they are starting to resume electricity supplies to Crimea more than two weeks after power lines to the disputed territory were sabotaged, causing widespread blackouts.
The power cuts have severely disrupted the lives of 2 million Crimeans and exposed how dependent the peninsula remains on Ukraine a year and a half after it was annexed by Russia.
"We are in the process of resuming energy supplies," said Igor Boska, regional head of Ukrenergo, the Ukrainian electric utility.
While the utility appeared close to restoring functioning of the Kakhovskaya power substation, which supplies much of the Kherson and Mykolayiv regions. three other damaged power transmission lines remain offline.
Crimea depends on Ukraine for most of its electricity. The first phase of Moscow's planned energy bridge between the peninsula and the Russian mainland won't be completed until later this month.
After the power lines went down, pro-Ukrainian activists, including many ethnic Tartars who opposed Crimea's annexation, prevented repairs by blocking access for engineers to pylons in Kherson in southern Ukraine.
But after negotiations, Tartar leader Lenur Islamov told 112 television that the engineers have been allowed to work.
Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax