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Russia Offers To Sell Coal To Ukraine

Russia is ready to supply Ukraine with up to 1 million tons of coal monthly to help alleviate Ukraine's energy shortages.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak appeared on the Russian TV channel Rossiya 24 on December 26 and said the Russian government had approved a decision to send some 500,000 tons of coal to Ukraine.

Kozak added that amount could double to 1 million tons if an additional agreement was reached.

Kozak said Ukraine's government had requested the Russian coal supplies, which, Kozak claimed, would be sold to Ukraine under "advantageous conditions -- according to Russian domestic prices."

Kozak indicated there was a Russian interest in the deal when he mentioned that "these shipments will help resolves the problems of energy supplies to Crimea."

Ukraine on December 26 cut off electricity supplies to Crimea for the second time this week, accusing the region of exceeding electricity consumption limits.

Russia annexed Crimea last March in violation of international law as violence was just starting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces.

The illegal annexation of Crimea prompted Western nations to start imposing sanctions on Russia.

More sanctions have been imposed on Russia since then over the Kremlin's role in supporting separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.

Information about Russian shipments of coal and electricity without the need for prepayment appeared on the website of Ukraine's Ministry of Regions, purportedly based on reports from Ukrainian media.

Ministry spokeswoman Nadiya Petrunyak later said hackers had placed the information on the website and that the information about Russian energy supplies to Ukraine had been taken off the site.

Petrunyak said the Ministry of Regions does not have such information and in any case would not the appropriate ministry to disseminate such information as matters of energy imports from other countries are the responsibility of other ministries and departments in Ukraine.

Petrunyak called on Ukrainian media "not to use fake reporting for their information resources."

Petrunyak said she could not answer the question whether or not Russia was selling electricity to Ukraine.

Ukrainian news agency UNIAN still had a report on Russian supplies of coal and electricity on its website as of December 27.

Despite the tensions between Kyiv and Moscow, Ukraine was able, with mediation from the European Union, to reach a deal to renew Russian gas supplies.

Ukraine has also continued to purchase most the nuclear fuel for its nuclear power plants from Russian company TVEL.

Based on reporting by Interfax, UNIAN, and TASS
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