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Ukraine may take out 2 million tons of coal from conflict-hit Donbas — minister

“This coal belongs to Ukraine and the coal is at Ukrainian mines," Ukraine's Minister of Energy and Coalmining Volodymyr Demchishin said

KIEV, December 3 /TASS/. Ukraine may take out about 2 million tons of coal from the conflict-hit Donbas region, Volodymyr Demchishin, Ukraine’s newly-appointed minister of energy and coal mining industry, told a briefing on Wednesday.

He explained that Ukraine was not planning to buy that coal but wanted to take it out from the storehouses of the Ugol Ukrainy (Ukraine’s Coal) state-owned company.

“This coal belongs to Ukraine and the coal is at Ukrainian mines. I hope we will be able to solve the problem as soon as we have an opportunity to take it out via Debaltseve,” Demchishin said.

Coal reserves at Ukrainian thermal power stations dwindled by 23.7% to 1.346 million tons from November 24 to December 2 this year.

The situation is particularly critical at the Zmiyevskaya, Uglegorskaya, Luhanskaya, Pridnieprovskaya and Krivorihskaya thermal power stations. Their fuel supply will not last for more than four days.

Coal shortage in Ukraine

In view of the coal shortages in Ukraine, Kiev should do its utmost to arrange for fuel supplies from “all available sources,” including Australia and Russia, Demchishin stressed. “Coal should be brought in from all possible sources. We have the facilities to take the coal, we should tap the domestic generating capacities to the maximum extent,” Demchishin said. He recalled that the country faced a shortage of anthracite, adding that delivery would take a rather long time.

Speaking about delivery dates, Demchishin said that “from Australia coal would arrive in six to eight weeks’ time, and from Russia and Poland — 20-30 days.”

At the moment, Ukraine was experiencing some problems with the import of coal from Russia. “There is a problem with supplies of coal from Russia, which were restricted to a certain extent. I believe that this issue should be resolved through talks,” Demchishin said.

He declared he was going to hold talks with the leadership of the power generating company Centrenergo, which had reportedly contracted a rather large amount of fuel. The coal supply was stuck on the border (between Russia and Ukraine). “As soon as I realize what the problem is about and possibly hold talks with Russia, I hope the problem will be resolved,” Demchishin said.