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Kiev Ready to Buy Coal in Regions Controlled by Independence Supporters

First Deputy Energy Minister of Ukraine Yuri Zyukov said that Kiev is ready to purchase coal from areas which are controlled by the independent supporters.

KIEV, November 3 (RIA Novosti) — Kiev is ready to buy coal in the areas of Donbas which are controlled by the independent supporters of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, First Deputy Energy Minister of Ukraine, Yuri Zyukov said Monday.

"Regarding the coal which we are ready to buy on the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, we need to pay money [for it]. This money, should go under control and be paid to the miners, for us to understand that this money will be used for paying salaries and above all for paying the energy bills and solving the social issues in mining towns," Zyukov said.

According to Zyukov, some 2.1 million tons of coal are currently stored at warehouses on the territories controlled by the independence supporters. He added that Kiev is ready to buy this coal at cost price. "It will still be cheaper than buying it from abroad the way we do now," Zyukov noted. He said that the talks are currently being held with the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

Zyukov noted that the coal, mined in Donbas region is needed in order to ensure that the Ukrainian coal-fired power stations operate without any interruptions. "Ukraine's energy sector is built the way that 50% of our blocks operate on gas coals and [another] 50% — on low-volatile coals. All these blocks – they were built nor for the coals of South Africa or Kuzbas, in terms of chemical composition they were built exactly for the Donbas coals," Zyukov said.

Torn by an internal conflict in its southeastern regions, Ukraine is experiencing a severe economic crisis. The Ukrainian government and international institutions forecast a 5-7 percent decrease in Ukraine's GDP in 2014.

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