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Russia may terminate coal supplies to Ukraine as response to Crimea blockade — minister

November 24, 2015, 10:28 UTC+3
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the construction of a power bridge from Russia’s Krasnodar region to Crimea is going on schedule.
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© Alexandr Kolbasov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russia may take a decision to terminate coal supplies to Ukraine as a counter measure in response to the energy blockade of Crimea, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Vesti FM radio station on Tuesday.

"Maybe in this situation we should take a relevant decision on terminating coal supplies by our commercial organizations, which deliver coal to Ukrainian power plants," the minister said.

Nevertheless, in the short term, such sanctions will have no effect, since Ukraine has coal reserves and its own production, Novak added. "But, of course, there will be shortages, and some power plants may demand shutting them down for a while or looking for other sources of coal," he noted.

The energy minister added that Russia could cut off gas supplies to Ukraine within two days, as Gazprom has not yet received the advance payment.

On November 20, two pylons of a high-voltage power line bringing power to Crimea were blown up in Ukraine’s Kherson region. The Crimean authorities have declared a state of emergency. On November 22, two more pylons of a high-voltage power line bringing power to the Black Sea peninsula were blown up.

According to the minister, the repair of the powerlines that have been damaged by explosions in Ukraine is not being conducted for political motives.

"Ukraine is actually doing nothing to repair the powerline. Although the Ukrainian Energy Ministry is ready and we are ready to provide assistance, including by sending our teams to restore one of the lines. However, it so happened that power engineers are not allowed there to restore the powerline. The access is blocked by the extreme-minded people staying there. At the same time it is strange that the authorities (of Ukraine) cannot ensure access to the power supply facilities. That is, for some political reasons this powerline is not being restored," the minister said.

Power bridge to Crimea being built on schedule

The minister said the construction of a power bridge from Russia’s Krasnodar region to Crimea is going on schedule.

"All the claims that the work is protracted are totally ungrounded. On the contrary, the construction is meeting the schedule that we received with the project documentation," the minister said.

According to Novak, a revised schedule envisages that the first stage of the power bridge will be commissioned in December 2015.

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