by ALEX RAGHUNANDAN Staff Writer
Since Crimea revolted against the Ukrainian government in February, Ukraine has struggled to keep complete control over their country. Due to unpaid debts by the people of Crimea, the freshwater sent to Crimea has been shut off by Ukraine.
Crimea, a territory located in southern Ukraine, is populated by mostly Russians, along with some Ukrainian and Crimean Tartar ethnic groups. The crisis in Crimea began after the Ukrainian revolution, which ousted the Ukrainian government.
After the revolution, the Crimean Parliament declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014 and asked to become a part of Russia. The next day, Russia gave Crimea access to Russia.
The present controversy is that the United Nations and the European Union have voted and declared Russia taking Crimea as illegal and illegitimate. Yet, Russian president Vladmir Putin continues to stand by the Crimean people.
“I don’t know much about what’s going on with Ukraine and Russia, but I think that the European Union and United Nations should allow Crimea to be a part of Russia if Russia and the majority of Crimea agree with it,” said freshman Justine Tarsillo.
While that situation is in the midst of trying to be resolved, the water that flows from Ukraine through the Northern Crimean Canal has been cut off. The water that comes from this canal provides 80 percent of the water supply in the peninsula.
This may be a retaliation against Russia who gave Ukraine a bill last month for over a billion dollars, outlining all of Ukraine’s ongoing debts to Russia. President Putin said that if the bill is not paid by June, Russia will cut gas to Ukraine.
The water shortage in Crimea has spoiled many of their crops and have created even more victims of the Crimean Crisis. Rice, corn, and soybean crops did not produce a lot of food due to the lack of water.
Only a small region in northern Crimea is getting water.
Two major chemical plants will soon need to close because there is not much water left for it to work off of. The plants predict they can only operate for 30 to 35 days until the factories will be forced to shut down.
Although Crimea is suffering without water, Ukraine will only turn the water back on if Crimea pays 1.7 million hryvna, approximately 143 million USD, to pay off the debts due to the country. Crimea also has to return some Ukrainian technical equipment to the government.
“Although it makes sense for Ukraine to demand its money and equipment back from the Crimeans, I think Ukraine took it way too far by taking away their water. Water is a necessity of life and everyone deserves to have that available to them no matter what,” said freshman Ana Oge.
To make ends meet, Russia is helping their illegitimate territory by sending drinking water to the regions of Crimea where there is no water available. Russia has been contemplating building a water pipeline across the peninsula over the next two to three months. If Russia continues to control Crimea, then Russia would find it helpful and productive to build a pipeline so the Crimeans do not have to depend on Ukraine for water.
In the next upcoming months, the United Nations and the European Union will be deciding to whom Crimea rightfully belongs.
Do you think it was justified for Ukraine to cut off almost all water supply from Crimea. Why?