In late January, a group of former participants of Ukraine's military operation in Donbas blocked traffic on several segments of freight rail lines running from the territories uncontrolled by Kiev. The blockade led to irregularities in supplies of anthracite coal from Donbas, leading to power shortages in Ukraine and prompting Kiev to declare an energy emergency.
Journalist Oleg Obukhov however told RIA Novosti that Kiev merely seeks to solve the current coal shortage while spending as little money as possible.
"Why bother trying to supply Ukraine with affordable coal when you can just confiscate the coal mined in Donbass. Head of Ukraine’s Ministry Energy Igor Nasalik has already sent the necessary directives to the fiscal service and to the customs, adding that the coal from Donbass is being shipped to Ukraine under the guise of Russian coal," he remarked.
According to Obukhov however, the claims about coal which is being shipped to Ukraine from Russia mined in Donbass are merely wishful thinking. Furthermore, Kiev appears unlikely to follow up on these threats, he added.
"Kiev understands that such a move may result in the complete termination of coal shipments from Russia. And Ukraine simply doesn’t have enough money to purchase coal from the US, Australia or Kazakhstan. Furthermore, Ukraine is the largest consumer of this particular type of coal, and it’s highly unlikely that any of the alternative suppliers would be willing to divert anthracite shipments to Ukraine at a moment’s notice," Obukhov surmised.