Ukraine’s dominant cableco Volia has decided to stop directly operating its TV and internet services in the breakaway Crimean region on 1 July 2014, and will transfer its subscribers to a third-party operator based in Russia,Telecommunication Systems, which has agreed to continue services to former Volia customers in Sevastopol and Simferopol at no significant change in price while temporarily using the Volia brand (for which it will pay Volia royalties). Local newspaper Vgorode.ua quotes the press officer of Volia explaining that the decision to quit the region was because Crimea has fallen under Russian law: ‘As a company that always acts in accordance with the law, we cannot operate in a legal vacuum, in an environment where there is no opportunity to comply with Ukrainian laws,’ adding that in Crimea Volia is now unable to receive and retransmit Ukrainian TV channels as required by Ukrainian legislation, while it is also prohibited from receiving payment in Russian roubles. Forbes.ua notes that the management of Telecommunication Systems is based in Moscow, and that it is not to be confused with an unrelated company of the same name already registered in Crimea. An entry for Telecommunication Systems in Crimean online business directories gives a web address sevcable.net which automatically redirects to Volia’s customer website.
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