The Ukrainian government is threatening to stop supplying electricity to the rebel-controlled East Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The country deputy energy minister Oleksander Svetelyk told a media briefing that the action will have to be taken if the region continues to ignore strict consumption limits. Kiev was forced to introduce the limits due to the crisis in energy it is suffering because of the pro-Russian uprising.

The country has endured disrupted coal supplies to coal-fired power plants, which traditionally generate around 40 per cent of the country’s power.
Ukraine and Russia at crossroads
“In order to save the power system we need to impose limits on everyone … there are no regions of Ukraine that will not be subject to rolling blackouts,” Svetelyk said at the briefing.

“We warned them today that if they don’t turn off like the others (regions), we will turn off flows,” he said, adding that the country faced a daily deficit of 3500 MW or 12.5 percent of its needs.

Coal reserves currently stand at 1.5 million tonnes compared with usual winter stocks of 4-5 million tonnes, Svetelyk said.

Reuters reports that Ukraine has looked to buying in coal from abroad to restock the depleted reserves, but potential supplies from Russia have been held up at the border and a coal deal with South Africa collapsed amid allegations of corruption.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Monday Kazakhstan had agreed to supply coal to Ukraine, but did not give details on volumes or the time frame for deliveries. Any supplies would have to be shipped through Russia.