MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. Russia has never refused to support the people of Ukraine and that is why it volunteered to supply coal and electric power there, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya said on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with TASS.
“Russia has never abandoned a persistent line at supporting the Ukrainian people and our president has said this more than once,” he said. “Given the disastrous situation in the Ukrainian economy today, Russia agreed to begin supplies of coal and electricity to Ukraine at domestic prices which, incidentally, are lower than the Ukrainian ones.”
“Quite naturally, we have no intention to impede practical steps under an agreement between Ukraine and Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev on supplies of coal,” Nebenzya said.
Russian companies have already sent first trains with coal from the coal mining Kemerovo region to Ukraine. According to the governor of the region, the supplies will ammount to one million tons a month.
Earlier, Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Kozak said Russia had made a decision to supply 500,000 tons of coal to Ukraine per month for solving its energy problems.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev agreed on coal supplies to Ukraine at a meeting in Kiev in late December.
“We have agreed on coal supplies from the Ekibastuz coal deposit,” Nazarbayev said, expressing hope that “the sides could reach progress in this direction of cooperation.”