Ukraine facing energy crisis after Australia refuses coal

Close up of coal mound with industrial machinery in background (coal super fund)
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Federal Defence Minister Richard Marles said Australia was “unlikely” to grant Ukraine’s request for a shipment of coal to help keep the nation’s power grid operating after Russian forces caused an estimated $1 billion worth of damage to energy infrastructure.

Related article: Australian coal in demand as Russia halts gas supplies

According to ABC News, Ukraine’s Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko wrote to Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong earlier this month asking for energy aid.

Myroshnychenko said every single power plant in Ukraine had been targeted or sustained damage, with the country facing widespread blackouts.

He said the nation had already requested coal shipments back in December, which Australia did not respond to, but was asking again due to the now critical nature of the situation.

“It’s not only for thermal power and in terms of heating, it’s also for electricity, which is necessary for industry … defence industry, to make sure that we can keep on going,” Myroshnychenko said.

“So, it’s a matter of survival for us in a way.”

While Australia previously gave 70,000 tonnes of coal to Ukraine at the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Defence Minister Richard Marles said Australia would instead provide support that was most “practical”.

“The support that we are providing now is very much focused on military support around allowing Ukraine to prosecute this conflict with Russia and that is where our focus is and that is where Ukraine wants our focus to be,” Marles said.

Related article: Russia, Ukraine accuse each other of Zaporizhzhia plots

“In all that we are doing we are looking at how our support can be sustainable and ongoing because we need to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes for Ukraine to resolve this conflict on its terms. It also needs to be practical and we are talking with Ukraine about how best we can do that.”

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