(QHA) -

Russia is building an energy bridge to Crimea from mainland Russia to free the peninsula from its dependance on Ukrainian electricity, news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

An electricity cable along the bottom of the Kerch Strait is being laid that will bring 300-350 megawatts daily to the peninsula, said Dan Belenky, deputy head of power firm Rosseti, RIA reported.

The cable will be complete by the end of this year and is the first of two that will have a joint capacity of 800-840 megawatts by 2017, Belenky said, adding that the infrastructure was commissioned by Russia's Energy Ministry.

Crimea unified with Russia last March, and the region still depends on Ukraine for most of its electricity. This became a problem in December, when Kiev briefly cut supplies over what it said was a coal shortage. Crimean officials in January nationalized the region's chief power grid company, Krymenergo, in response.

QHA