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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day: 294
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Imports Russian Coal And Electricity
7 years
Fighting Near Mariupol
Heavy Shelling In Donetsk One Day Before Another Supposed 'Ceasefire'

Ukraine is facing electricity shortages as coal power stations have been deprived of much of their fuel from occupied regions of the Donbass. 

Despite the conflict, Russia is an important source for coal to make up for the shortfall. For two weeks however, Russian Railways suspended deliveries of coal to Ukraine. Those deliveries have now resumed, reports Interfax-Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and the Coal Industry, 50,000 tonnes of coal are en-route from Russia to supply Ukrainian heating and power plants.

Russian Railways have given no official explanation as to why deliveries were suspended.

In September, Ukraine signed an agreement to buy 1 million tonnes of South African coal

The deal was heavily criticised and Ukraine's prosecutor-general, Vitaly Yarema, opened an embezzlement case. Steel Mont, who were to deliver the coal, cancelled their contract on November 12, having arranged the delivery of only 494,000 tonnes. The London-based company said that they did not "want to be dragged into a political dispute."

On Friday, Yarema announced that the South African coal was of poor quality and did not burn in Ukrainian power plants and that the director of Ukrinterenergo, the state company responsible for the deal, was to charged with embezzlement.

UNIAN reports:

"Yesterday an order was issued for the director of Ukrinterenergo Volodymyr Zinevych to be brought before the courts. Today he is in hospital," Yarema said.

It is very common for Ukrainian officials who are charged with corruption to suddenly be taken ill.

Yarema said that the task of the Cabinet of Ministers is to provide the country with the high-quality coal.

"The coal that was imported from South Africa does not burn in our power plants. It is a crime and it must be punished. This person is charged with doing deliberate harm to our economy by spending UAH 384 million on importing coal not suitable for our TPPs," Yarema said.

He said the directors of Ukrinterenergo and Centrenergo were suspects in the case. The losses that the state has incurred as a result of the coal import contract are being estimated, he said.

According to Yarema, the Prosecutor General's Office possess evidence that the coal from South Africa is of low quality and does not comply with the standards used by the Zmievska, Tripolska and Starobeshevo TPPs, which are operated by Centrenergo.

"In addition, we found a number of abuses by Centrenergo regarding inventory purchases. These are fake companies that have carried out procurement and embezzled money. This happened a few months ago.”

Reuters reports that, having had a power shortfall of more than 10 percent last week, Ukrinterenergo has been permitted by the government to import electricity itself from Russia.

-- Pierre Vaux