KIEV (Sputnik) — In January, following the escalation of tensions in the southeastern part of the country, a group of former participants of Ukraine's military operation in Donbass blocked traffic on several segments of freight rail lines running from the territories uncontrolled by Kiev. The blockade caused irregularities in the delivery of anthracite coal from the region, subsequently leading to power shortages in Ukraine. This prompted the government to declare an energy emergency, which has since been extended a number of times.
“[Extension of emergency measures] is scheduled practically until September. This is a period, when we can dispense without burning the anthracite group of coal,” Nasalyk told the 112.Ukraina broadcaster.
Kiev plans to replace anthracite coal from Donbass with coal from South Africa, the minister continued, added that most of Ukraine's energy generating facilities had already begun preparing to operate on the imported coal.
Earlier in May, the minister said that a group of US experts will arrive in Ukraine on May 22 to discuss the possibility of importing coal from the United States.
Ukraine launched a military operation in Donbass in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new government in Kiev that they viewed as illegitimate. Even though the Minsk peace accords were signed in February 2015, the sides continue to blame each other for ceasefire violations.