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'Storm of the Century' Kills 4, Cuts Power to 2Mln in Russia, Occupied Ukraine

The sea in Alushta during a storm.

Updated with new death toll.

A severe storm on the Black Sea hit parts of Ukraine and southern Russia on Sunday night, killing at least four people and knocking out power to nearly 2 million, with strong winds continuing into Monday. 

"About 1.9 million people remained without power supply as of 10:00 Moscow time due to unfavorable weather conditions," Moscow's energy ministry said, listing the Russian regions of Dagestan, Krasnodar and Rostov, as well as the occupied Ukrainian regions of Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

The storm peaked on Sunday evening, with some parts of Russian-annexed Crimea receiving 33 millimeters of precipitation and winds reaching speeds of 144 kilometers per hour. 

As waves up to 8 meters high battered the coast, crude oil loading was halted on Russia’s Novorossiysk oil terminal and the nearby Caspian Pipeline Consortium terminal — leading Kazakhstan, which exports through the CPC, to reduce oil production by nearly 15% compared to the day earlier, reported Bloomberg.

A Ukrainian interior ministry adviser posted several videos on X, formerly Twitter, allegedly showing the storm washing away Russian defenses on the coast, saying: “A storm washed away trenches in occupied Crimea that Russian army dug out on the beaches.”

The footage could not be independently verified.

Russian authorities in Crimea declared Monday a non-working day.

Officials said parts of Crimea were without water and heat, 498,000 people had lost power, and hundreds of people had been evacuated from their homes.

More than 10 people were injured, two were hospitalized, at least 195 buildings had been flooded and roads were closed due to fallen power lines. 

Russian officials in Donetsk reported another 190,000 people without power.

Occupied parts of Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region also saw injuries, property damage, flooding, and power cuts.

Russia's emergency situations ministry said on Telegram that less than 100 people had been evacuated from the Sevastopol and Krasnodar regions, where there had been injuries, downed trees, and property damage.

At least 800 marine animals were also killed after a flood at the Sevastopol Marine Aquarium Museum.

Planes headed for Sochi were redirected and a cargo ship ran aground.

The ministry said it had mobilized 1,335 people to assist with storm recovery. 

The storm also brought heavy snow to other parts of Ukraine, as well as Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria. 

AFP contributed reporting.

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