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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors to Examine Power Cuts

Prosecutors on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula have opened a criminal investigation into an electric utility that cut power to military space facilities because of debts, while blackouts continued at other military sites Monday.

The probe was opened by Kamchatka's chief prosecutor Alexander Voitovich, who has questioned the legality of the cutoffs by Kamchatskenergo, Interfax reported Monday.

The blackouts in Kamchatka reached national attention last month after the local power grid cut off power to a tracking station of the Russian Space Forces, which claimed the action could have led to the loss of spacecraft. National grid Unified Energy Systems insisted that the power was only cut to supply buildings and never jeopardized satellites.

The military has since paid off 40 million rubles ($1.3 million) of its 200 million ruble debt to Kamchatskenergo, the utility's deputy manager Viktor Nigmatulin said Monday, Itar-Tass reported.

Power supplies have resumed on Kamchatka, but similar cutoffs continued Monday in several garrisons in the Chita region in southern Siberia and to the Baltic Fleet in northwest Russia, news reports said.

The blackouts have provoked angry comments by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who said last week that the military's energy debt had resulted from a sudden rise in energy prices that wasn't foreseen in this year's military budget.

UES chief Anatoly Chubais has blamed the debts on the military's chronic failure to earmark enough funds for energy payments. Chubais said he had discussed the issue with Ivanov and they "found understanding of how the problem should be solved," Interfax reported Monday.