Russia remains main supplier of coal to Ukraine as coming bitter frost forces Kiev to boost imports
Ukraine won't buy Russian gas to keep warm, but two-thirds of its coal imports still come from Russia, according to the country's State Fiscal Service.
Ukraine’s purchases of hard coal grew to nearly $2.7 billion from January through November 2018, marking a year-on-year surge of more than 10 percent, according to official government data.
The fiscal office noted that neighboring Russia accounted for nearly 62 percent of the country’s total imports of anthracite. Russia exported $1.67 billion worth of coal, followed by the US, whose anthracite exports reached almost 30 percent of the Ukrainian market or $806.3 million. Canada is the third biggest supplier of coal to Ukraine, with exports worth $128.7 million, accounting for nearly five percent of Ukraine’s purchases.
Coal-rich Ukraine has been struggling with serious shortages of anthracite since the middle of 2014, when Kiev lost control over its eastern territories, where most of the country’s coal mines are located. However, supplies had been continued until January 2017, when the railways leading to the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were blocked by Kiev-backed militant groups.
Ukraine's coal mining industry has been in a dramatic decline over recent years. The country’s coal mining companies reportedly reduced operations by 1.3 million tons or 5.1 percent from January to September of 2018 against the same period a year ago.
In an attempt to maintain coal supplies, Kiev had to turn to foreign producers. In 2017, the report by the US Energy Information Administration revealed that the US, Ukraine’s second-biggest coal supplier, almost tripled the price for coal shipped to the country.
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