Donbass gives Kiev ultimatum: lift blockade or suffer blackouts

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February 27, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

RusVesna – translated by J. Arnoldski

The Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics promise to stop coal deliveries to Ukraine if the railway blockade is not lifted. This has been announced in a joint statement by the head of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky, and DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko.

“We are compelled to declare that if by 00:00 on Wednesday (March 1st, 2017) the blockade is not lifted, then we will introduce external management at all enterprises under Ukrainian jurisdiction that are working in the DPR and LPR. We will cease to supply coal to Ukraine. Now there is neither the ability nor a payment plan for coal supplies,” the statement reads.

In other words, Kiev has two days to resolve the issue of the railway blockade.

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Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky also noted that all production processes in the republics will be re-oriented to focus on the markets of Russia and other countries, which was one of their main platform promises.

Approximately 30% of coal for electricity and heat generation that is purchased by Ukraine is in the DPR and LPR. Ukraine has practically no other option to quickly replace this coal source, nor is it capable of increasing the volume of oil drilling. Less than 9 billion cubic meters are left in its storages, which is insufficient to ensure the country’s heating and electricity needs.

Ukraine annually burns approximately 24 million tons of coal for electricity generation. Nine million tons of this amount is anthracite coal which is mined in Donbass and is crucial to metallurgy.

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Kiev’s coal reserves at thermal power plants can last only until the end of February/beginning of March, after which the Ukrainian government will be forced to start selective blackouts. 

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