Simferopol: Crimea Wednesday suffered massive blackouts after Ukraine unexpectedly stopped supplies, sparking traffic jams, hospital closures and panic across the peninsula.
Train stations, businesses and the airport had to close down, traffic lights went dark causing huge snarls in the main city of Simferopol, and several people were stuck in lifts.
Crimea's energy minister Sergei Yegorov said power stopped being delivered from Ukraine, where over 80 percent of the peninsula's power comes from, at 11:10 am (0810 GMT).
Since it came without warning, local authorities did not have the reserve gas-powered stations working, he said.
Ukraine's energy minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn confirmed that Kiev had cut the power to Crimea, saying the region's consumption had exceeded the limit agreed in a contract at a time when Ukraine itself was forced to ration power.
Electricity supplies were restored about three hours later.
Demchyshyn also said Ukraine is conserving more power after Russia stopped coal deliveries, adding that he was in talks regarding the import of both coal and electricity with his Russian counterpart.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Ukraine's energy market has been "in the state of emergency" for the past three months and has had to resort to blackouts, including in territories under Russian control.
"If there is no light in Ukraine than the territories temporarily controlled by Russians are not going to have light either," he said at a cabinet meeting Wednesday.
Moscow annexed Crimea in March from Ukraine through a controversial referendum Kiev and the West do not recognise.
The peninsula is connected to Russia's mainland only by a ferry link. Power, water and gas, along with most other provisions, continue to come in from Ukraine.