The press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would provide the annexed Crimea with drinking water without Ukraine's participation, TASS reports.
According to Peskov, "Ukraine has ruled out negotiations with Russia to provide Crimea with water."
"Russia is a powerful country, it is able to provide Crimea with water without Ukraine, which will be done so that it will not depend on this tap," Peskov said.
At the same time, he stressed that the water situation on the peninsula is critical, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a "very important meeting" on this issue.
"The topic is the water supply to Crimea. You know that the situation there is critical with water supply. The cause is well known, but action is being taken. There was a president's order, and the government approved a comprehensive plan to ensure the water supply to Crimea," Peskov said.
On September 19, the Russian authorities warned that they were going to limit the water supply in the resort town of Alushta and several villages in the south of Crimea. In the fresh water reservoir supplying the area there is enough water only until December.
In early October, Russia allocated $64 million to create new water facilities in the annexed Crimea. It was noted that the funds will be used for the construction of a water intake on the Belbek River with purification and engineering facilities, as well as for infrastructure for the water intake from the Kadykowski quarry. Construction work will be carried out by the Russian Defense Ministry.
Ukraine used to provide up to 85% of Crimea's fresh water through the North-Crimean Canal, which connects the Dnieper River with the peninsula. After Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, water supplies to the peninsula were cut off.
Water reserves in Crimea are replenished from reservoirs of natural runoff and underground sources. According to ecologists, the excessive use of water from natural sources has led to the salinization of the soil on the peninsula. Crimean authorities regularly call on the residents of the peninsula to save water.
The Permanent Mission of the President of Ukraine in Crimea reported that the supply of water to Russia-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol via the North Crimean Canal is possible only after the “de-occupation of the peninsula”.