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Kyiv Moves To Protect Energy Security Amid Coal Shortage

Locals carry bags containing coal that they collected near a coking plant for heating their homes near the government-held industrial town of Avdiyivka.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree to prevent threats to the country's energy security amid a shortage of coal from eastern regions controlled by separatist fighters.

Volunteer Ukrainian fighting battalions have been blocking railway connections with districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by Russia-backed separatists, which has led to a lack of traditional anthracite coal across the country and led to power shortages.

Poroshenko's decree on February 16 said the measure -- based on a decision by the National Security and Defense Council -- was undertaken to foster protection of key infrastructure.

The decree obliges Ukrainian authorities to find ways to switch from traditional anthracite coal to other types of coal used at thermal power stations.

Other alternatives for coal will be sought and additional coal reserves will be created, as per the decree.

All exports of anthracite coal from Ukraine have been halted for the time being and all deliveries of goods from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are now strictly controlled by law enforcement and security units.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and Interfax