Russian coal companies had to resort to indirect supplies of coal to Ukraine through Belarus because of trade restrictions imposed by Russia, RBC news agency reports, citing sources in the coal companies.
“We cannot supply them directly. Quotas prevent us from doing so,” one of the interlocutors stated.
According to one of RBC’s sources, Russian companies used to export coal to Ukraine under the guise of export to Europe. Raw materials were delivered to Ukrainian ports ostensibly for export, but they were not really exported anywhere. However, Russia began limiting the transit of raw materials on May 1, 2018.
Ukrainian media reported that since then, Russian energy supplies and coking coal in transit through Ukraine have been suspended without explanation. Up to that point, Russia had been transporting 1 million to 1.8 million tons of coal per month to Europe.
The Belarusian media reported that Donbas coal from mines controlled by the DPR and LPR could also be supplied through Belarus not only to Ukraine but to other countries as well, especially to Poland.
Russian traders, whose offices are based mostly in the Rostov region, exported coal from the Donbas as part of coal mixtures. A year ago, the only coal supplier from the mines in DPR and LPR was the company Gas-Alliance controlled by Ukrainian fugitive businessman Serhiy Kurchenko.
It was reported that exports of hard coal from Belarus to Ukraine increased by 980 times over 2018 while anthracite exports increased by 340 times. The volumes were unusual simply because Belarus had no such deposits of coal.
Two of the biggest coal consumers in Ukraine are the private company DTEK that belongs to oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, and the state company Centrenergo that the media claim is controlled by a businessman close to Poroshenko and to People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Ihor Kononenko.
DTEK told Radio Svaboda that they did not supply coal from Belarus and that they have no Belarusian partners.