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9 Nov, 2017 10:21

Poland illegally imports coal from Ukraine's breakaway regions & exports to Europe – report

Poland illegally imports coal from Ukraine's breakaway regions & exports to Europe – report

Polish trading company TD Anthracite is buying coal produced in the self-proclaimed Donbass region of Ukraine and selling it in Poland and other European Union countries, including Austria and Italy, claims Polish daily Gazeta Prawna.

The newspaper cites the website of Carbones, a global trader of metallurgical commodities, based in Austria. “We offer Ukrainian anthracite from our permanent storages in Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, and Austria,” says the site. The company reportedly cooperates with TD Anthracite.

The Ukrainian anthracite is reportedly produced only in the coal mines within the territories of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Eastern Ukraine. The pits were occupied by anti-government forces in April 2014 after the Ukrainian revolution, and the Euromaidan movement triggered an armed conflict in the region.

According to the newspaper, Austrian Carbones and Polish TD Anthracite increased trade by 125 percent from 2013 through 2015 with over 6,500 tons of Ukrainian anthracite shipped to Poland. The Polish company has denied allegations it trades in coal from Ukraine's breakaway regions.

Last week, Gazeta Prawna reported that Poland had received anthracite mined in the Lugansk republic. The coal was delivered by Doncoaltrade, which was registered in 2012 in the Polish city of Katowice. The company is reportedly chaired by Oleksandr Melnychuk, a former deputy energy minister of the self-proclaimed republic.

Later, Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski confirmed that Poland got some coal from Donbass and pledged to take all possible measures to stop illegal shipments.

Donbass, including Donetsk and Luhansk, is the Ukraine's largest coal mining area. The regional conflict cut Kiev’s access to these resources. The government faced an energy emergency due to a lack of coal sparked by Ukrainian nationalists’ blockade of railroads from the self-proclaimed republics.