Photo from UNIAN

"In the mid-term outlook – one, two, three years – we've got no alternative to anthracite coal. I think everybody is aware of this, but perhaps someone has another goal – to send Ukraine into the depths of despair," he said at a government meeting on Tuesday, February 21.

Read alsoPM Groysman: Gov't seeks to reduce dependence on anthraciteAs UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers has been seeking ways to reduce anthracite consumption by the next heating season by 2.5-3 million tonnes at the expense of nuclear and hydro power.

Anthracite shipments from Donbas to Ukraine were suspended after Ukrainian activists who oppose trade with the occupied areas in eastern Ukraine began a blockade late in January 2017.

Advocates of the blockade said they had been invited by Groysman for negotiations.

Protesters insist that Ukraine's parliament pass a bill on occupied areas. They also demand that all hostages kept in Donbas be immediately released.

UNIAN memo. Fighting in the eastern regions of Ukraine has caused a significant shortage of coal, primarily that of thermal anthracite produced in militant-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Thus, the deficit of coal affects the operation of power plants, which have to reduce their capacity. In order to provide the smooth operation of the power grids, anthracite was imported from South Africa. However, the issue of coal shipments to thermal power plants critically arose after the launch of a blockade of trade with the occupied areas in late January 2017.