Ukraine has declared a state of emergency for its energy sector that could lead to rolling blackouts as officials try to dramatically reduce electricity consumption across the country.
The February 15 decision was made at a cabinet meeting in Kyiv focusing on how to respond to a two-week strike by far-right protesters who have blocked a rail line between coal-producing eastern regions and the rest of Ukraine.
Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk called on all residents and industries to immediately try to save electricity.
He warned that conservation efforts may not be enough, saying the government "will implement rolling blackouts" if the energy savings are insufficient.
To fuel the country's power plants, Kyiv continues to buy a specific type of coal produced only in eastern regions controlled by Russia-backed separatists.
The exchange of goods has gone on despite a 34-month conflict in the east between separatists and Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 9,750 people.
Protesters say Kyiv shouldn't be trading with the separatists.
Based on reporting by AFP and TASS