Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pledged to resume coal supplies from separatist-controlled parts of the country after they were blocked by volunteer fighting battalions, threatening the country's power supply.
Ukraine declared a state of emergency in its energy sector on February 15, with Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk calling on all residents and industries to immediately try to save electricity.
Russia-backed separatists control areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine nearly three years after the start of their fight against Kyiv’s forces that has killed more than 9,750 people.
Despite the hostilities, Kyiv continued to buy coal from areas controlled by separatists as power stations in Ukraine are mostly designed to run on the specific type of coal that is produced there.
Sales were suspended when volunteer battalions and some lawmakers blocked a railroad that brings coal across the front line late last month.
Poroshenko said the lack of coal from the Donbas risks leaving entire towns without heating and he pledged to resume the supply's flow.
Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman said about nine out of the 24 million tons of coal that Ukrainian power stations require every year are imported from the separatist-controlled areas.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and TASS