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Kiev resumes imports of Russian coal after week-long break

December 01, 2014, 13:32 UTC+3 KIEV

Kiev is looking for alternative coal suppliers, including Australia, the United States and South Africa

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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

KIEV, December 1. /TASS/. The Ukrainian government has partially resumed imports of Russian coal which were suspended in late November, Ukraine’s acting energy minister told journalists on Monday.

“The import of Russian coal is facing certain problems. Some part of the coal is being sent, while the other one is hindered without any reasons. Let’s say the delivery is carried out of time,” Yuri Prodan was quoted by Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency as saying.

The minister said both Ukraine's Centrenergo and the DTEK energy holding company owned by Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov are facing difficulties receiving the fuel.

The Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine earlier reported that supplies of coal from Russia for Ukrainian companies Centrenergo and DTEK were suspended.

Centrenergo said it had coal reserves that would be enough for around three weeks.

Last week, Russian Railways CEO Vladimir Yakunin said Russia continued exporting coal to Ukraine.

Prodan earlier said Russian companies had halted coal exports to Ukraine from November 21.

Amid the current standoff with Russia, Kiev has been looking for alternative coal suppliers, including Australia, the United States and South Africa. Last week, the fourth vessel with around 85,000 tons of South African coal arrived in Ukraine, and another two vessels with over 160,000 tons are expected later in December.

In early November, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council raised the issue of transparency of the coal purchase deal with South Africa. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office has opened an embezzlement case. The Opposition Bloc suggested that the coal price could have been overstated.

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