Russia plans to launch Crimea power stations on March 18 - sources

MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) - Russia plans to officially launch two new power stations in Crimea on March 18, five sources familiar with the plans told Reuters on Wednesday.

The power stations were at the centre of an international scandal after German engineering company Siemens said its power turbines had been installed at them without its knowledge and in violation of European Union sanctions.

The planned launch will coincide with a possible visit to Crimea by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the five sources said.

Technopromexport, the Russian company building the power stations, declined to comment. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Anton Zverev, Anastasia Lyrchikova and David Axelrod Writing by Christian Lowe Editing by Andrew Osborn)