(Reuters) – Russia has agreed on a new deal to supply coal and electricity to Ukraine, which is struggling with a lack of raw fuel for power plants due to a separatist conflict in the industrial east, Russian officials said on Saturday.
The move comes a day after Kiev said it would suspend train and bus services to Crimea, effectively creating a transportation blockade to and from the region annexed by Moscow in March this year. Kiev has briefly cut off electricity to Crimea before.
Russia will supply coal and electricity to Kiev without advance payment as a goodwill gesture from President Vladimir Putin, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency.
“Putin made a decision to start these supplies due to the critical situation with energy supplies and despite a lack of prepayment,” Peskov said.
Russia plans to supply 500,000 tonnes of coal to Ukraine per month, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told Rossiya 24 television. It is ready to supply another 500,000 tonnes per month if an additional agreement is reached, he added.