Ukraine is holding talks with the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic to buy coal, the republic's prime minister Gennadiy Tsypkalov told journalists on Sunday.
The country faces a heating crisis as it lacks the amount of coal needed to last the winter, according to Ukraine's prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The country's energy minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn told Ukrainian television on Saturday that Ukraine would buy coal from "problematic directions."
"The thing is that they are today holding talks for purchases. This actually exists. But for now Ukraine is not ready to recognize us as a business partner. We are ready and holding talks on this subject," Tsypkalov said.
Shipments from coal-rich Donbass largely ceased as a result of Ukraine's military conflict with independence-seeking local militias. The head of Ukraine's national electric utility Ukrenergo said on Friday that it may begin electricity shut-offs as long as 2.5 hours at a time if the country is unable to maintain adequate coal reserves.
Ukraine refused to continue buying natural gas from Russia in July, instead opting to buy "reverse" flow natural gas from neighboring EU countries at a smaller volume.