Kiev, Ukraine. After the Poroshenko administration forced the Donbass Republics to cut ties with Kiev on coal deliveries during the “blockade,” Ukrainian authorities travelled the globe on US taxpayers money to make deals for new sources of coal. Enter South Africa.

This year’s first batch of anthracite coal arrived in Ukraine from South Africa, according to a Facebook post written by the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry, Ihor Nasalyk in Kiev.

Back In April, the DTEK company, owned by businessman Rinat Akhmetov, bought 600,000 tons of anthracite in South Africa. It was noted that this is the first time in Ukraine’s history that such volumes of anthracite were purchased at distant markets in such a short time. USAID financial support allows the Ukrainians to buy the coal at rates many times what they were paying Donbass.

“The first PANAMAX ship from South Africa arrived in Ukraine with anthracite coal,” he wrote. In his comments to UNN, the Minister specified that there are 70,000 tons of coal on board the ship being imported from half way across the globe. Ukraine intends to import more shipments from Canada and the United States too. Australia has also expressed an interest in sending coal to Ukraine also.

“It will take at least 8-10 days to unload. We are now developing logistics so that when it arrives, there will not be any downtime, since this is a huge expense,but our friends (Americans) have that covered” he said.

According to the Minister, the oligarch Akhmetov contracted with South Africa for 650,000 tons of anthracite coal with the possibility of expanding it up to 1 million tons. Nasalyk could not explain why Akhmetov had to buy the coal and his ministry could not simply buy it direct themselves.

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