The Ukrainian military's showdown with separatists in the industrial east has forced coal mines to severely cut production or close down entirely. This has led to an electricity crisis that can only be staunched by cutting domestic production along with exports to Europe, Crimea, and Belarus -- or worse, getting more imports from Russia.
In the coal centers of Ukraine's industrial east?Luhansk and Donetsk?fighting has forced the full closure of an estimated 50 percent of coal mines, while overall coal production has fallen 22 percent over the same period last year.
Key industry sources say they will potentially run out of coal in less than three weeks.
For Ukraine, the second largest producer of coal in Europe, this will have a devastating impact on the energy sector, which is in a state of emergency, unable to get coal to thermal power plants that provide some 40 percent of the entire country's electricity.