KIEV (TIP): Russia has begun to restrict coal supplies to Ukraine, energy minister Volody myr Demchyshyn told Ukrai ne’s parliament on Friday days after the Kremlin threa tened to punish Kiev for a po wer blackout of Russian-an nexed Crimea.
Demchyshyn said pro Russian separatists who cont rol coal mines in eastern Uk raine had also halted coal supplies. He said Kiev had one month of its own coal supplies left and was seeking alternative supplies from So uth Africa.
“Coal supplies ha ve been restricted from un controlled territory (Don bass) and from Russia,” said Demchyshyn.
“Right now our power stations have enough coal reserves in storage to last for at least one month. But in the long-term problematic questions will arise.” Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that Russia might cut coal supplies to punish Ukraine for what he said was its deliberate refusal to help rebuild power lines to Crimea, which were blown up by unknown saboteurs. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March last year, plunging relations between the one-time allies into crisis.
Minor repair work has been carried out on the sabotaged pylons and power lines in southern Ukraine which supply Crimea, but none of the four pylons which were destroyed are operational.
Ukraine depends on coal to fulfil around 44% of its po wer needs. Nuclear energy makes up about the same proportion, with the rest of its needs being met by renewable sources.