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Crimea Natural Gas Pipeline Opens

October 23, 1999

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ Ukrainian authorities on Saturday formally opened a pipeline providing natural gas to southeastern Crimea.

President Leonid Kuchma, who was visiting the Black Sea peninsula on an electoral trip, lit a torch in the town of Kerch, symbolizing the completion of the 14-month project.

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``This is not an ordinary event for the peninsula’s residents,″ he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

The 146-mile pipeline cost the equivalent of $60 million to build. It links the Crimean cities of Dzhankoi, Feodosia and Kerch, improving natural gas supplies to about 30 percent of the peninsula’s populace. Crimea’s 2.6 million residents long have coped with energy and hot water shortages.

The pipeline was planned years ago, but its construction was frozen in 1995 due to a lack of funds.

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