Ukraine suspends coal and gas exports

Fuels will be needed in the country during “the most difficult winter”, President Zelensky said

Ukraine will not export gas and coal to other countries, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday. He warned that the country was facing the “more difficult” winter since its independence 30 years ago, due to the ongoing military conflict with Russia.

“It’s fine, we have to go through this so that our people feel that the state is functioning normally”, Zelensky said in an address posted on his Telegram channel. “For the time being, we will not sell our gas and coal abroad. All national production will be directed to the internal needs of our citizens”, he added.

Zelensky demanded that the government do everything possible to ensure that gas and electricity prices remain unchanged for consumers during the next heating season. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said coal production in Ukraine’s state mines had fallen by about a third since late February.

According to the International Energy Agency, Ukraine produces coal, natural gas and oil; however, energy demand exceeds domestic supply, with the country having to import fossil fuels to cover an energy deficit of around 35%.

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Ukraine ranked sixth in the world for hard coal reserves in 2019, with coal accounting for more than 90% of the country’s fossil fuels. Despite this, the IEA notes, Ukraine has increasingly relied on imports in recent years, with 70% of imported coal coming from Russia.

Much of Ukraine’s imported natural gas also comes from Russia, as it transits to Ukraine through reverse flows from Central and Eastern European countries, according to the IEA. Ukraine is an important transit country for gas supplies from Russia to Europe.

The coal, fuel and petroleum products that Ukraine exports are mainly destined for other former Soviet republics as well as Turkey and China, according to data from Trading Economics.

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