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Ukraine Not To Import Russian Electricity Despite Coal Shortage

Despite the current coal shortage that threatens to disrupt Ukraine’s power generation, the country will not import electricity from Russia, Ukraine’s Energy and Coal Industry Minister Ihor Nasalyk said on Tuesday.

According to Russia’s news agency TASS, Nasalyk told a TV channel today that he was certain that electricity imports from Russia were out of the question.

Ukraine’s government is considering declaring a state of emergency in the energy sector due to severe shortage of coal deliveries from the conflict-torn Donbas region, which produces a large part of the coal that Ukraine’s power-generating plants consume.

On January 25, a railroad that was being used for coal transportation from the Donbas region was damaged by “unauthorized persons”, and according to Interfax-Ukraine, Nasalyk had said that blocking of the Luhansk-Popasna railway section creates risks for the Ukrainian energy security.

On Monday, Ukraine’s anti-crisis energy team recommended that the government introduce a state of emergency in the energy sector. According to Interfax-Ukraine, rolling blackouts could be applied in seven regions in Ukraine.

According to TASS, Nasalyk said on Monday that imports of electricity from Russia or of Russian natural gas were the only alternative to the coal shortage due to the blockade of supplies from the Donbas region.

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Ukraine’s current anthracite coal reserves would be enough to keep thermal power plants running for around 40 days.

If Ukraine were to decide not to trade goods with the Donbas territory, the country can do without Donbas coal, but it would cost it the equivalent of US$551 million, which would be passed on to the economy and consumers, Nasalyk has said, according to Ukrainian news outlet UAWire.

Furthermore, Nasalyk said today – as quoted by another Ukrainian news outlet – that Ukraine would need up to two and a half years to stop purchasing anthracite coal produced in the Donbas region.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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