Why the Ukraine has created the conditions for the energy crisis

Miners in the Donetsk region

Photo: Alexey kudenko / RIA Novosti

The government of Ukraine agreed on measures to combat the energy crisis caused by the shortage of anthracite coal, which comes mainly from the Donbass. Kiev authorities blame the crisis on the Ukrainian activists and Russia

The Ukrainian government has launched a set of anti-crisis measures in the energy sector, announced on 14 February Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Zubko. To introduce a state of emergency in the sector, the government did not. Energy Minister Igor Nasalik said earlier that his office had prepared a draft decision on state of emergency in connection with the shortage of anthracite, which is used in Ukrainian power generating stations. The measures will allow the operational mode to operate the power units of heat generation, said Zubko. According to him, the measures designed to ensure the stable operation of the power system.

The blockade was brought

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman on Tuesday blamed the crisis in the energy sector to members of the public blockade of trade with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. “Now, some Ukrainians want their own hands to disrupt the heating season, it is unacceptable. Therefore, we need to distinguish between smuggling and the fight against the Ukrainian people”, — said the Prime Minister at a government meeting.

A trade blockade of the DNI and the LC, including the railway, the soldiers of the Ukrainian volunteer battalions began in late December of last year. It involved members of the Ukrainian Parliament Yegor Sobolev, semen Semenchenko of the opposition faction “Self-help”.

According to the headquarters of the blockade, in the Luhansk region rail links blocked for 20 days near the station Svetlanova. According to the headquarters, was blocked from passage 14 400 cars (about 250 trains). In the Donetsk region for 12 days blocked traffic near the town of Bakhmut (Artemovsk), where missed about 7200 cars (120 trains). In the Donetsk region in the area of station Krivoi Torets traffic blocked for four days, activists are not missed 12 500 cars (210 trains).

Wagons with coal for the Donetsk metallurgical plant. 14 Feb 2017

Photo: Mikhail Sokolov / TASS

Ukrainian police responded to the actions of the radicals criminal charges on four counts of blocking paths. The actions of the activists was condemned by the head of the EU delegation in Ukraine, Hugues Mingarelli. According to him, the main victims of the blockade in the Donbass are civilians.

The blockade is necessary to representatives of the party “Self-help” in order to ensure the PR of their draft law on temporarily occupied territories — those in the party need to recognize uncontrolled Kiev areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, says the Ukrainian political analyst Vadim Karasev. If this law was passed, interrupted trade relations with uncontrolled territories, it would be possible to erect the border, the Minsk agreement to resolve the conflict would be eliminated, he said. The Ukrainian authorities have avoided such developments all the time since the beginning of the conflict in the East of the country.

Karasev indicates that actions resemble the actions of those who in 2015, began the blockade of the trade with the Crimea. However, in contrast to the situation with the Crimea is developing now the conflict threatens the energy security of the country and the interests of the Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov, who owns the major thermal power plants and coal mines in the region. President Petro Poroshenko, the expert conveyed the decision to the level of the government, and, most likely, the conflict will be resolved, and coal supplies will resume.

The press service of Mioglia and energy DNI refused to comment. A source close to the leadership of the Republic, associates the siege with performances by Ukrainian activists. “I don’t think it has to do with the economy, is a method of political pressure, including on the NPT,” — says the interlocutor of RBC. According to him, earlier the terms of the coal supply suit both parties.

Russian aspect

According to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groisman, 9 million tons of anthracite from 24 million tonnes, consumption at Ukrainian power plants for the year before the blockade was imported from the Donbass. An alternative supply of coal from uncontrolled territories is either the import of coal from Russia, or the start-up of gas / oil fired units thermal power plants, pointed out Nasalik. Anthracite coal was produced mostly in the Donbass, including the now uncontrolled Kiev areas, accumulate sufficient reserve of coal the government could not due to the tense situation, says the Director of the energy development Fund Sergey Pikin.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Zubko, the responsibility for the crisis lies in Russia, where “best threat of the energy supply in Avdiivka, but almost all of Ukraine”: “[Russia] wants us to buy Russian coal, we understand that this is coercion.” Does this mean that the activists of “Self-help” act in the interests of Russia, Gennady Zubkov is not explained, and other explanations of his words are not given. While Ukrainian officials claim that Russia will not be treated.

The last time Ukraine has imposed a state of emergency in the electricity market in August 2014. The country has had problems with transportation of coal in warehouses TPP due to hostilities in the Donbass, explained who was then the Minister of energy and coal industry Yuriy Prodan (his words passed “Interfax-Ukraine”). After the introduction of emergency of Ukraine has restricted the export of electricity, including in the Crimea. Then came to the aid of Russia: the two countries agreed on supplies of Russian electricity to Ukraine, after which Ukraine was able to restore the energy supply of the Crimea.

In 2016, the country did not renew the contract on Russian energy supplies, as the situation with the supply of coal in Ukraine is normalized in spring 2016. In 2016, the FGC has launched a bridge to Crimea from Russia than fully ensured the demand of the Peninsula’s electricity.

Coal supplies nevertheless continued. According to the Russian Central dispatching Department of fuel and energy complex, supply of Russian coal to Ukraine reached in 2016 10.7 million tonnes, of which Energougol — 5.7 million tons (an increase of 25%). Russia may at any time increase the supply of coal to Ukraine, but this is a political issue, and while it is not discussed, told RBC Federal official.

Ukraine inflates the problem: the supply routes can be freed and continue to buy anthracite coal in DND and LNR, said the official. According to him, the Ukrainian thermal power plants were built for these coals, the use of Kuzbass coal can lead to problems with the equipment. Beneficial to Russia, to Ukraine to buy anthracite coal in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions: this will enable the regions to make, says the interlocutor of RBC.

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