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Ukraine’s Radical Party threatens to leave coalition if Kiev buys coal from Russia

November 14, 2014, 9:18 UTC+3 KIEV
The party's leader Oleh Lyashko insists that Ukraine should buy coal “from anyone and at any price” but not from Russia
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Ukraine’s Radical Party leader, Oleh Lyashko

Ukraine’s Radical Party leader, Oleh Lyashko

© Maksim Nikitin/TASS

KIEV, November 14. /TASS/. The Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko could withdraw from participating in the parliamentary coalition if the Ukrainian government purchases coal from Russia, the party leader said.

The ongoing talks on establishing the coalition in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada involve the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the People’s Front, the Samopomich (Self Help) and Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna. The coalition agreement could be made public on Friday.

Lyashko insists that Ukraine should buy coal “from anyone and at any price” but not from Russia. “Otherwise the Radical Party will refuse to join the coalition,” the politician said.

Coal supplies to Ukraine

Ukraine's Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan on Wednesday said the country has no other solution, but to buy coal in Russia or war-torn eastern coalmining region of Donbass, where militias are controlling the situation.

Later one of Ukraine’s largest energy companies, Centrenergo reported that agreements have been signed until late 2014 on total supplies of 1,079 tons of coal, including 509,000 tons from Russia, 250,000 tons from South Africa and 320,000 tons from Ukraine. The company did not specify what contract on supplies of Russia’s coal it meant.

In September, media reports said that a contract on supplies of 500,000 tons of coal for Ukraine’s Donbass Fuel-Energy Company (DTEK) was signed with a Russian-based coal company, Kuzbassrazrezugol, which is part of the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company. DTEK is a branch of System Capital Management, owned by Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov.

Now Ukraine buys coal in the Republic of South Africa at the price of $86 per ton. Steel Mont Trading funds 80% of purchased supply. Three vessels have already come with coal supplies and the same number of ships with supplies is expected soon, but the coal price may change.

The transparency of the coal purchase deal with South Africa was raised at a meeting of Ukrainian Council of National Security and Defense on November 4. Therefore, Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office opened a budget embezzlement case. Prodan and Ukrinterenergo chief Vladimir Zinevich were summoned for questioning last Monday.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk asked on Thursday if there was a possibility of importing coal from Australia or the United States. Prodan replied that finding a counter-agent in these countries would take no less than six weeks. In the meantime, the low temperature winter season is round the corner.

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