Kiev is ready to buy coal at cost price from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, said Ukraine's first deputy energy minister, stressing that it will be cheaper than buying it from abroad. As freezing temperatures come to Ukraine, First Deputy Energy Minister of Ukraine Yury Zyukov said that the Kiev government is ready to buy some 2.1 million metric tons (mt) of coal, currently stored at warehouses on the territories controlled by independence supporters, RIA Novosti reported.
"If we have a cost price of 650 hryvnia per ton (about $65/mt) without VAT, the price will be raised to 1,100 hryvnia per ton (about $85), then the balance will be at the price of buying this coal," he said, adding that "it will still be cheaper than buying it from abroad the way we do now." Zyukov elaborated that he is in talks with the management of the mines who are negotiating with the authorities of the self-proclaimed republics. He pointed out that the money paid for the coal "should go under control" and given directly to the miners "for us to understand that this money will be used for paying salaries and above all for paying the energy bills and solving the social issues in mining towns."