Blood coal: oligarchs, terrorists and POW labor in Russo-Ukrainian war

coal Ukraine


Half of Ukraine’s power plants use antracite, which is mined in the occupied territories. Photo: zn.ua 

Analysis & Opinion, Featured, War in the Donbas

Article by: Olena Makarenko

Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) revealed one of numerous schemes by which the so-called republic’s leaders receive money from Ukraine, part of which is used to finance armed forces of the “republic” which is waging war against the Ukrainian army.

This particular scheme involves the Ukrainian state energy enterprise Tsentrenergo and companies Luhanskuvuhillia and Antacit, which are located in the occupied Luhansk Oblast.

According to the SBU investigation, the “LNR’s” so-called Minister of Fuel, Energy and Mines created the scheme to finance the illegitimate republic. The coal extracted in the “LNR” was sold to the Ukrainian enterprise Tsentrenergo through Luhanskuvuhillia and Antracit.

“To achieve their criminal purposes, and for personal benefit at the expense of sales of coal, he [the so-called “LNR” minister] forced the Acting General Director of Luhanskuvuhillia and the acting Director General of Antracit to sign contract #111/20 with Tsenterenergo to supply the latter with coal of the anthracite group, amounting to UAH 1.584 bn ($ 60 mn) at the rate of UAH 1320 ($ 50), VAT included), per 1 ton of coal,” the corresponding court order stated.

The document also states that the Acting General Director of Antracit was paying a commission of 60 UAH ($ 2) for every ton sold to Luhanskvuhillia, and paid taxes to the so-called “LNR.”

The General Director of Luhanskuvuhillia organized and supervised the illegal transfer of sales to cash by signing agreements and primary accounting documents. He also provided financial support to several commercial businesses which, according to the court, are most likely illegal.

The court order shows that, in January and February 2015, the so-called officials of the fake republic transferred UAH12 mn ($456,700) from Luhanskvuhillia’s account to the companies Sodeystvie and Treyd. The transferred money was then moved to Ukrainian bank accounts in smaller amounts, and cashed out.

Law enforcement also found that, in the Ukrainian bank Sofiyskiy (which is currently under the process of liquidation), there was a person who approved the illegal transactions and informed Luhanskvuhillia of the court’s orders to block the money transfers . Thanks to this illicit collaboration, the money could have been quickly transferred from an account under investigation to a safe one

The so-called minister used 47% of the money received from this trade to pay taxes to the so-called “LNR.”

“These funds are further used for paying the wages of members of “LNR” terrorist groups, who are engaged in terrorist-sabotage activities in the interest of the “LNR.” These activities include armed attacks on law enforcements and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, infringement of life and health of local government representatives and individuals who hold a pro-Ukrainian position, etc., as well as for purchase of ammunition, uniforms and so on,” the order states.

The Deputy Minister of the Anti Terrorist Operation, Volodymyr Kistion, has stated that Ukraine buys almost 9 million tons of coal from the occupied Donbas each year. According to him, it is mined by enterprises registered in Ukraine, so they pay taxes to Ukraine.

Why Ukraine can’t give up coal trade with the occupied territories

This is what a kopanka (private mine) used to look like in the 90’s. Two decades later, there are still such kopankas in the Donbas. Photo: tyzhden.ua

Tsentrenergo is a public company which consists of three power plants: Vuglehirska, Zmiivska, and Tripilska. The total capacity of the plants is 7665 MW, equal to about 14% of the total capacity of Ukraine’s power plants. These are thermal electric power stations which Ukraine has as a Soviet legacy.

Half of Ukraine’s electric power stations require anthracite due to their technical characteristics. When the stations were built, under the Soviet Union, they relied on using this kind of coal. Anthracite is rarely used in other parts of the world, and is mined only in the occupied territories. Before the war, Ukraine was a major exporter of anthracite. In 2015, there was a suspension placed on this export, which was then lifted in February of 2016. However, according to other media sources, even when the moratorium was in action Ukraine continued to export tons of anthracite to Russia.

As the demand for coal is high, mining became even more important in the occupied territories. Every month, Ukraine receives 600 thousand tons of coal from the occupied territories. 42% of it comes from DTEK mines which are registered in Ukraine. DTEK belongs to Ukraine’s most powerful oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov.

The rest of the coal goes through the intermediate-companies and it’s a secret who owns it. The approximate amount is 300-350 tons each month. And the lion’s share falls on private kopankas, small private illegal mines run by ordinary people. According to the Ministry of Energy, [as of April 2016] about 8.5 million tons of coal were transferred from the Anti Terrorist Operation Zone, equal to UAH 11 bn ($ 419 mn). Almost 60% of this amount went to the intermediaries who sell the raw materials which were illegally extracted in the republics. And they, in turn, payed the illegal republic’s miners, Novoe Vremya describes.

Working conditions which violate human rights

An example of a kopanka. Photo: argumentua.com

Pavlo Lysianskyi, Head of the Eastern Human Rights Group, noticed the recent bust in coal mining activity because of the frequent accidents among miners and the increase in private orders for timber from the terrorist republics. Timber is used for making strong mine roofs. Ex-deputy of the Donetsk Oblast Council, Vitaliy Kropachev, noticed that, during the last two years, the amount of kopankas on the occupied territories increased from a few hundred to 1500.

Before the occupation, kopankas were illegal. One of the reasons for this was that the owners of these private mines neglected all safety measures. Nevertheless, it still used to be widespread in Donbas, where coal is the main source of revenue. The business was overlooked by law enforcement, because they also benefited from the profit. Nowadays, these dangerous businesses are used to benefit the pro-Russian terrorists fighting against Ukraine.

Read also: The Donbas protests you haven’t heard of

Moreover, human rights activists say that the criminal republic uses prisoners and captive Ukrainian soldiers as slaves at these kopankas:

“Prisoners of war are soldiers who were captured while taking part in the war. Prisoners are those who had been sentenced for crimes committed before 2014. After the “DNR” and “LNR” came to control, the prisoners started to serve their sentences under the laws of the unrecognized “republics” and their work is used for free. Prisoners of war are in the same situation. They work in kopankas, produce something, and somebody becomes rich off of their labor. In fact, in the 21st century, we have a mini slave state, which profits from the people,” Lysianskyi said.

How Akhmetov’s DTEK sponsors terrorism

Akhmetov’s DETEK is a monopolist on the energy market in Ukraine. This company also profits from working in the occupied territories. Photo: vlada.io

Returning to Antracit, it is noteworthy to mention that, at the end of 2016, Ukrainian media revealed that Serhiy Kurchenko, the young runaway oligarch from the time of the tyrannical president Viktor Yanukovych, became its new owner.

Moreover, Yevropeiska Pravda wrote that the oligarch became the favorite ally of the criminals of the so-called republics. The media says that the young oligarch’s companies are aimed at taking resources from even Akmetov’s DTEK enterprise.

DTEK holds a monopoly on Ukraine’s energy market. Its owner, Rinat Akhmetov, has occasionally been accused of collaborating with the terrorists from the so-called republics. Journalist Denis Kazanskiy recently published an investigation giving proof of this collaboration and explaining how it happens.

Kazanskiy revealed a document which confirms the connection between Akhmetov’s business and the criminals of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.” This document contains text from the contract with the Akhmetov’s enterprise DTEK Donetskoblenergo, and was created by the pro-Russian militants lead by Aleksandr Zakharchenko, Energoservice Vikold.

The agreement foresaw that, according to the commission of the DTEK Donetskoblenergo, the company Vikold will reach agreements for electricity provision with the consumers on the territory controlled by the so-called “DPR” forces. Vikold collects money from the consumers and gives it to Akhmetov’s company, functioning as the mediator between the oligarch’s company and the authorities of the occupied territory.

One of the the agreement’s clauses states that the company Vikold will receive payments from Akhmetov. The amount is determined by the expenditures of the company and by a Coordination Center. This center also defines the tariffs for electricity for the so-called republic’s population.

“This means that Akhmetov’s company agrees to electricity prices for ORDLO’s [occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts- Ed.] citizens with the illegal armed groups which seized a part of the Oblast,” wrote the journalist.

Denis Kazanskiy explains that, after the so-called republics expelled Ukrainian banks and started to use Russian currency, it became complicated for DTEK Donetskoblenergo to take money from the occupied territories’ populations. Registered in Ukraine, Akhmetov’s company could not have an account in a bank which works in the “DNR”. The local population pays for the electricity in Russian rubles. Therefore the Vikold company became an intermediary between the Akhmetov’s company and consumers. The money which the company of pro-Russian criminals receive for this mediation is also paid from the pockets of ordinary consumers.

Lysianskyi is afraid that the money illegally earned from business with the so-called republics in the end could lead to promoting criminal politicians in Ukraine.

This seems even more plausible, taking into consideration the intensified discussions on conducting elections in the occupied territories. These discussions often resonate with the pro-Kremlin plan for Ukraine.

Read also: Victor Pinchuk wants Ukraine to capitulate to Russia

Experts say that one of the ways to regulate the situation might be re-equipment of power stations for other kinds of coal. This might take three to five years. The main question, however, is who has more influence in Ukraine – those who benefit from collaboration with criminals, or those who are interested in moving Ukraine forward in its independent future.

Read also: Holding elections now will destabilize Donbas

Edited by: Isabella Popa, Alya Shandra

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  • Quartermaster

    Soviet equipment in a post-Soviet world. Ukraine gets it coming and going. But, time to build plants to take Bituminous coal and freeze out DNR’s source of revenue.

    • туфтуф

      Bezler showed on youtube how Poroshenko was selling weapons to the rebels. Anything goes in a war zone and things are seldom clean cut.

      • Quartermaster

        Such a story is very unlikely. Russia supplies the rebels all the weapons they need and more besides. There is nothing in it for Poroshenko.

        • туфтуф

          I saw with my own eyes the inventory lists and boxes with various weapons with Ukrainian language inscription. The video is still on youtube. Put Безлер рассказывает как Порошенко продавал ему оружие.

          • Quartermaster

            So, Poroshenko’s name was actually on the crates? That’s hilarious! Poroshenko may be many things, but a fool he is not. His own people would hang him and it would be righteous.

          • туфтуф

            Not his name, but it was Ukrainian lorry that brought Ukrainian weapons. Someone on Ukro side obviously organised it. I cant remember exactly how Poroshenko was implicated, but clearly remember it was beyond reasonable doubt. Must watch the video again and wull tell u.

          • Quartermaster

            If it was “beyond reasonable doubt” then his own people will hang him. Something that is highly improbable is unlikely to be true. I’m not going to waste my time on a You Tube clip that makes outrageous claims. I’ve already seen enough of the product of Russian Trolls.

          • туфтуф

            Am tellin u it is a serious accusation. That is why utras dnt like Poroshenko.

          • Quartermaster

            It’s about serious as someone saying that Hitler is living in Arlington, Virginia and controls the US government behind the scenes. You are saying Poroshenko is not just a fool, but a suicidal fool. Won’t wash.

        • туфтуф

          Money
          Porodhenko knew the waepon would be used against his own troops.

  • WisconsinUSA

    We have plenty of coal in America to hold you guys over till you come up with new Ideals.

    • Murf

      I read that there is a Japanese company doing just that.
      The article didn’t say what the going rate for Donbas coal is?
      Pre War it was $150 per ton.
      I’ll bet it’s a bit lower now.

      • туфтуф

        Australia also can help…..

    • туфтуф

      Now that is a good idea. And having in mind that such an operation would be tremendously expensive, part of the cost can be layed on Ukrainian citizens, part on the EU. Good business, cus EU will definitely be able to pay.

      • Alex George

        No, its not a matter of expense. Its a matter of the type of coal.

    • Quartermaster

      The overwhelming majority of what the US mines is bituminous, not anthracite. There may be other sources, but Pennsylvania is the only state I know of that mines Anthracite, and very little of it.

  • Terry Washington

    Hmm- isn;t using POWs as slave labour a violation of the terms of the Geneva Convention( and arguably a war crime). Sure you don’t want the ICC to get involved???

    • туфтуф

      Russia does not recognise the ICC jurisdiction. Like China.

      • Terry Washington

        Whether Russia(or China or the US_ ) accepts/recognizes the ICC’s jurisdiction is a non sequitur(red herring as they say in plain English)- if Ukraine ratifies the Rome Statute(as i have repeatedly urged on this forum) then that would make the forced labour of their POWs(or other forms of ill treatment such as murder_ a war crime. and the Russian perpetrators liable to indictment and likely conviction by the ICC!

        • туфтуф

          But the decisions of the ICC are not recognised by Russia. They are treated like 2 grandmas watching telly and discussing politics. Grandmas’ decidions cannot be enforced.

          • Terry Washington

            Whether Russia(or anyone else) recognizes the authority of the ICC is as I noted a red herring of the worst order, if one country( Georgia or Ukraine) has signed and ratified the ICC’s Rome Statute and Russian troops on their soil commit war crimes, then ipso facto that gives the Court jurisdiction (for indictment prosecution and ultimately sentence). Or do you think the Court should go after African warlords andf tyrants but not presumably “white” and powerful countries such as Russia or the US??? It is also worth noting that the ICC has cases pending against Israel( the PA has filed war crimes charges against it regarding Operation Cast Lead, my own country(UK) vis a vis Iraq and against the US by drone strike victims so it is certainly not playing favourites!

          • туфтуф

            Signatures are not worth the paper they are written on. These are the times of cunning and brute force or threat there of.

          • Terry Washington

            I might make the point that even nowadays Germans alleged to have committed war crimes during WWII are STILL liable for indictment and prosecution. Augusto Pinochet, Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein ALL saw themselves as legally unassailable and where are they now? There are NO statutes of limitations for war crimes or crimes against humanity and as we saw during the “Velvet Revolutions” of 1989-91, even the most seemingly impregnable regime can suddenly collapse like the proverbial “house of cards” so Putin and his cronies should watch their step!

          • туфтуф

            You know that the victors judged the losers. Nothing has changed. As long as a country is victorious, its leaders cannot be judged. Tony Blair, Don Rumsfeld and GWBush are convicted war criminals at large and yet no one can touch them.

          • Quartermaster

            Who “convicted” these war criminals? Frankly, almost no one takes those “convictions” seriously.

          • туфтуф

            I mean convicted German WWII military personel. Except a few runaways and the new NATO official who had served in SS.

          • Quartermaster

            So Blair, Bush and Rumsfeld served in the SS? You need to go back to whatever training program Putin has for wannabe trolls. You are embarrassing yourself.

          • туфтуф

            O sorry, didnt see the full text. They were convicted in absentia in Kuala Lumpur court for war criminals.

          • Quartermaster

            There might be such a court in your deranged mind, but that’s the only place.

          • туфтуф

            Do your research on google. Easy to find. It is a long story to be laid out here, but it did take place. Some years ago GW was tipped off by CIA not to travel to Switzerland because a group of Swiss lawyers had prepared a warrant for his arrest. Its all over the net. Read.

          • Quartermaster

            That’s laughable. There was never a time Bush did not go to Switzerland when planned. Just because it was on the internet, doesn’t make it true. I think I’ve made that clear on the you tube trash you’ve pushed here, and it’s no less true on other subjects.

          • Terry Washington

            Now THAT qualified as a “kangaroo court”- neither Bush or Blair was present or even had a defence counsel present- it reminds me of Bertrand Russell’s Vietnam Tribunal which “convicted” US and South Vietnamese civilian and military leaders( but significantly NOT their North Vietnamese counterparts) of “war crimes”- it had no more moral validity than a Stalin style “show trial”!

          • туфтуф

            They were tried in absentia cus they were cowards to appear, fearing they might end up in prison. They were aware what they had done to lraq. And they Did have court appointed solicitors.

          • Quartermaster

            Pinochet was never tried by his own people, and the people that wanted his hide were all leftists whose parties he prevented from doing serious damage to the country. Chile is fortunate he ousted Allende and went after the other subversives the Soviets and Cubans had trained and planed in the country.

          • туфтуф

            What use is an indictment if it cant be engorced? I say lets indict extraterrestrials and Tibetan traitors who serve the Chinese gvt.

          • Terry Washington

            Since most countries have signed and ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC, in order to avoid being “Pinochet’s”, any officials indicted by the Court would either have to stay permanently within the boundaries of the Russian Federation or limit their travels to countries that have not signed or ratified or signed the Rome Statute,a form of imprisonment in a sense as effective as sitting in a cell at The Hague!

          • туфтуф

            Stay in Russia? Not bad.

          • Quartermaster

            Putin has certainly shown his signature isn’t worth the ink it took to make it.

          • туфтуф

            True. New world is being born.

          • Quartermaster

            No. Just the same old one where Putin admires Stalin, whose signature was also not worth the ink it took to make it.

          • туфтуф

            But the blatant disregard for intl law is a fairly new phenomenon?

          • Quartermaster

            Both Hitler and Stalin did it with regularity. Nothing new there.

          • туфтуф

            Well in that case, no need to worry. It seemed to me we didnt have a war in Europe during the Soviet times. There were minor skirmishes here and there but the world was genrrally more stable than now. On the other hand, l might be wrong there…

          • туфтуф

            Well its good then. Everything will be just fine.

          • Quartermaster

            If you like International chaos, it’s just peachy.

          • туфтуф

            Ordo ab chao. The world is simply changing and we should refrain from value judgements cus they cloud reason.

          • Quartermaster

            Nihilism is something to avoid. You’ll become an idiot like Putin. Value judgments do not cloud judgment.

          • туфтуф

            In analysis they do. If you want to know my values: no illegal putsch on maidan, Ukraine an independent country having blossoming treade with all its neighbours. But that is wishful thinking.

          • Quartermaster

            They do not. To the contrary they form the framework of valid judgments.

            There was no illegal putsch on the Maidan. They were peacefully protesting and Yanukovich was stupid enough to order the Berkut to start murdering people. When Yanukovich realized he was going to be brought to book for his crimes, he ran, like all cowards do.

            Ukraine has good relations with her neighbors, with one major exception, Russia. But Putin is tying to revive the tsarist empire and the nations that had been enslaved by Russia get a vote as well. Consequently, Russia has become a pariah.

            Your thinking is wishful because it’s based on lies.

          • туфтуф

            But a moscow court decided thete was…???

          • Quartermaster

            So what? A Russian court has no standing to make such a judgment. Yanukovich removed from office through legal procedures under the Ukrainian Constitution. Putin is lawless, and the judges do what they are told. There is no independent judiciary in Russia, nor does the rule of law exist there.

          • туфтуф

            It says Ukrainian constitution was violated. Violated or not, itbseems to me Russia is preparing the world for the next step: annexation of more ukroterritories.

          • туфтуф

            Cunning and brute force. Unstoppable combo.

          • Quartermaster

            The Nazis thought the same as you do. So did Brezhnev before he went into Afghanistan.

          • туфтуф

            Everyone who attacks Russia has fared badly.

          • Quartermaster

            Tell that to the Mongols. Russia has suffered grievously in war. Both facts are irrelevant to the discussion.

          • туфтуф

            The last mongol khan was paying tribute to Moscow prince. Lol

          • Alex George

            Yes, after dominating Russia for most of its history.

          • туфтуф

            And Ukraine….

          • Alex George

            For some of the time, they did. Not nearly as long as Muscovy, which was just an outpost of the Golden Horde anyway.

            But you were the one who asserted that “everyone who attacks Russia has fared badly”, and that is simply not true.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Russia most of all.

          • Alex George

            Ummm no they haven’t actually.

            And Russia by itself has been pretty useless. Russia combined with Ukraine and other countries has done very well, but that no longer applies.

          • туфтуф

            In todays world, deception, cunning and brute force go a long way.

          • Quartermaster

            And Russia is well on its way to being a pariah as a result.

          • туфтуф

            China too. On account of illegaly occupying Tibet and building islands in South China sea. And no one can liberate Tibet or stop it enlarging its territory. Might.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Actually, the Chinks tried to enlarge their territory in India in the 1960s and got a bloody nose for their pains. Ditto when they tried it in Vietnam in 1979.

          • туфтуф

            Now they re clever. They take the international property, of those countries who are paralised with fear. Vietnams gdp was nom extant when it won the Nam. They are fearless nation. Better take from Brits and Yanks. They are ruled by fear.

          • Turtler

            “Now they re clever. They take the international property, of those
            countries who are paralised with fear. Vietnams gdp was nom extant when
            it won the Nam.”

            Except it by and large did not win “the Nam” except against itself (or rather, the South). The exception might be in 1954, but that is still pushing it since the French had control of most of Indochina, even the North. The victory was mostly diplomatic.

            In “The Nam” that the world remembers, the Allied troops in the South basically shattered the VIet Cong, devastated the NVA, and bombed the hell out of the North’s major centers until it was forced to come to the table. There’s a reason there was even V-V Day, Victory in VIetnam Day, which allowed the Allied troops to leave the region in exchange for guarnetees of peace and the promise of material support to the South.

            The North simply rebuilt, broke the treaty, and invaded while the South was alone.

            “They are fearless nation.”

            Hardly, as their own history shows.

            And Fearlessness alone does not win.

            “Better take from Brits and Yanks. They are ruled by fear.”

            I’m sorry, but have you ever actually dealt with someone that fled from a dictatorship?

          • туфтуф

            Cangaroo courts are for cangaroos, not for great statesmen.

          • Terry Washington

            So Putin is a “great statesman”( I presume you are referring to him)??? Following your logic so was Stalin .or for that matter Hitler! And I might make the point that your country pretty much invented the concept of “”Cangaroo courts” during the Stalinist show trials with the notorious “troikas” of the NKVD which tried, sentenced and dispatched either to firing squads or the freezing hell of the Gulag. To argue that the ICC is a cangaroo court( you could at least brush up on your spelling- the phrase is “kangaroo”) is like arguing that gourmet cooking is no different that cannibalism!

          • туфтуф

            I dnt know enough abt Hitler, only that he was a bankers ‘ puppet whose job was to destroy USSR.

          • Terry Washington

            Since you brought up the second world war, I might refresh your memory and draw your attention to not just just the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 in which Hitler and Stalin agreed to divvy up Europe between themselves but the subsequent Lend Lease aid shipments made by first Britain and the US that were clearly instrumental in the Soviet victories at first Stalingrad and then Kursk- even Khrushchev in his memoirs admitted that the much talked about “twenty million dead” would have been much higher without the trucks and jeeps provided by the “decadent/bourgeois” Western democracies- and which the Soviet government NEVER expressed any gratitude for!

          • туфтуф

            But virtually every European credible power signed similar agreements with herr Hitler. Or not?

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            But they did not form a de facto alliance with Adolf like Stalin did. Nor did they supply Adolf with oil, wheat, manganese and other strategic materials, or actively help Adolf in his war against France and the UK- see for instance the help Russia gave the German auxiliary cruiser “Komet” in sailing through the Kara Sea, Laptev Sea etc to reach the Pacific including escort by icebreakers.

          • Terry Washington

            Again when I point out that whether a given nation recognizes the authority of the ICC,( Russia, China or even the US, as both Bush , Obama and possibly Trump as well have expressly stated) is a RED HERRING-you repeat mantra like “Russia does NOT recognize the authority of the ICC”. I might make the point that since the USSR was happy to accept and participate in the International Military Tribunal(the ICC’s predecessor) and therefore approve of the sentences passed(which included execution for several Nazi leaders and lengthy prison terms for others), it seems only fair to me that the same legal reasoning to Russians as I would to German and Japanese!

      • Quartermaster

        Russia just recently withdrew. It’s too late for Russia to be picking and choosing. The Rebels are already in trouble, as are the Russians.

        • туфтуф

          How do you enforce the unrecognised court’s decisions? Send John J Rambo to fetch Mr P. and his entire team? Lol

          • Quartermaster

            Ask people like Goering. If Russia foments a war and those people fall into the hands of the west, you can bet those rulings will be enforced.

          • туфтуф

            History never judges the winners.

          • Quartermaster

            You know little of history. Winners are always judged by history.

          • туфтуф

            Ok if you say so.

          • Quartermaster

            No, not because I say so. But because the facts say so.

          • туфтуф

            The facts or Jon J Rambo? Lol

          • Alex George

            “How do you enforce the unrecognised court’s decisions?”

            The same way that the “unrecognised court’s decisions” were enforced against Yugoslav officials who thought they could commit war crimes and get away with it.

            They were confident that they could never be made accountable for their crimes because Yugoslavia didn’t recognise international law. They are now either in prison or in hiding, cut off from their friends and family

          • туфтуф

            But someone has to hand over the entire KGB to the cangaroo court. John J? Lol

          • Alex George

            I have no idea what you are talking about. I am referring to war criminals in the Donbas. They wil be handed over, probably by Russia in the end.

          • туфтуф

            I tot u wanted the russian KGB in the cangaroo court. Sorry. Cus they were the instigators.

          • Alex George

            It doesn’t matter who they are. No matter how long it takes, they will be put on trial, and the Kremlin will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            U still bellieve in justice, make babies not bombs cr*ap?

          • Alex George

            This makes no sense – obviously you didn’t read my post. I wrote that It doesn’t matter who they are.

            No matter how long it takes, they will be put on trial, and the Kremlin will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            But u still believe that justice prevails. You shld ask the Tibetans. And have a cup of hot milk and cry urself to sleep.

          • Alex George

            Of course Justice hasn’t prevailed. It will, when those responsible for war crimes are put on trial and pay the penalty for their crimes. That is only a matter of time . Russia itself will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            And a cup of warm milk? Have you done what l told u to do? No dilly dallying pls.

          • Alex George

            Sorry, but they won’t get warm milk in prison.

            Justice will prevail when those responsible for war crimes are put on trial and pay the penalty for their crimes. That is only a matter of time . Russia itself will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            Pay? But havent we come to concludion that Russia has no money? Jokes aside. Have your nappies changed and off to sleep. NOW!

          • Alex George

            You obviously didn;t read my post. Read more slowly this time:

            Justice will prevail when those responsible for war crimes are put on trial and pay the penalty for their crimes. That is only a matter of time . Russia itself will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            70 yrs? How long will ukroland wait to get russian military based in Syria? The snag: they wld have to swim all the eay cus of not having a navy.

          • Alex George

            Syria? What on earth are you going on about now?

            Still trying to change the subject I see.

            Justice hasn’t prevailed. It will, when those responsible for war crimes are put on trial and pay the penalty for their crimes. That is only a matter of time . Russia itself will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            The “criminals” in Donbass ARE KGB.

          • Alex George

            No, actually all FSB are not war criminals, and its not just FSB who have committed war crimes in the Donbas – many separatists have done so also.

            In the end, it doesn’t matter who they are. Whether it takes 1 year or 10 years, they will be tracked down and charged. And Russia will hand them over.

          • туфтуф

            FSB and GRU are the organizers. Separatists are local miners and tractor drivers. Shame on ukroarmy that they ve been fighting a 2 yr war against tractor drivers and still cnt win. Useless.

          • Alex George

            No separatists are tractor drivers. They are Russian military.

            They are incapable of attacking Ukraine and you know it

          • туфтуф

            But l clearly hear local Ukrainian accents when l watch u tube. But l can also spot a GRUshnik. Occasionally.

          • Alex George

            Since you wouldn’t have any idea what you are watching, how is this relevant?

          • туфтуф

            My Russian is excellent. Am expert on local accents. Its my proffession. Linguist.

          • Alex George

            Yes, yes, just like you know so many people personally, and have secret information on alliances nobody else knows about, bla bla bla.

          • туфтуф

            If one mixes disinformtion with truth, even if one s telling the truth, no one believes them. On the one hand it is good cus its easier to fly under the radar.

          • Alex George

            In other words, you have been caught out in several obvious lies already, and nobody believes anything else you say.

          • туфтуф

            I am fluent in Russian and am specialists for local accents. Linguist.

          • Alex George

            Sure you are, just like you have contacts everywhere in Russia and among the separatists and in high government circles.

            ;o)

          • туфтуф

            Ifs and buts.

  • zorbatheturk

    Very murky dealings indeed. Some of these coal deals need to be annulled. Guys like Akhmetov need to follow the rules or face criminal prosecution and have their assets confiscated, despite their illegitimate billions.

    • туфтуф

      If they arrest Ahmetov, Poroshenko, Kalomoysky and the entire oligarchic structure may collapse. We must bear in mind that all these ppl are in power only to rob the Soviet inheritance and guarantee free and safe gas flow to EU. Once Ukraine fulfills its purpose, the world will discard it as a used condom.

      • zorbatheturk

        Soviet = Sheetscum, Igorovich.

      • Alex George

        Well apart from getting every fact wrong, you are right .

    • Alex George

      I agree. Its clearly a complex issue, but it has to be dealt with. Ukrainians are dying steadily in the Donbass, civilians as well as soldiers, and the fact that even more worthless Russians are dying doesn’t compensate.

      The nub of the problem is the old Soviet anthracite power stations – that seems to be what ties the Ukrainians to tolerate this situation. Ukraine is slowly weaning itself onto other power sources but perhaps it has to happen more quickly. That means ther will have to be a plan, commitment to it (especially as the oligarchs involved will do their best to derail it) and some major loans to pay for new power generation infrastructure.

  • туфтуф

    As the republics are part of Ukraine, it is good to trade with them. The companies which find themselves on these territories should pay taxes to the local authorities which in turn should pay a bit to the central gvt in Kiev.
    If it cannot be enforced, Ukraine should be buying energy from Japan or Australia. The high costs of such an enterprise should in part be paid by Ukrainian citizens, the other part by EU.

    • Quartermaster

      Anthracite coal is extremely expensive on the world market. The main reason the Soviets built the plant to burn the stuff is that it was available in the country.

      • туфтуф

        Well let them buy from Japan and Australia and if they have no money to buy, let the EU and US foot the bill.

        • Quartermaster

          Won’t happen.

          • туфтуф

            Why? As humanitarian aid?

          • Quartermaster

            Won’t happen. The cost is prohibitive. Bituminous coal is available at reasonable cost, but the plants won’t burn it.

          • туфтуф

            Maybe UN can foot the bill? Or Japan can dump the price only for ukroland?

          • Quartermaster

            Won’t happen. Anthracite is too expensive.

          • туфтуф

            But what will happen to Ukraine? Wait for the summer in 13 degrees C flats?

          • Alex George

            Ukraine? What on earth do you think these plants are doing?

            We are talking about one region which is still dependent (partly) on old Soviet plants

          • туфтуф

            Its dependency on Russia will only grow as time goes by. Without Crimea, though. On the other hand, in an inevitable union of the 2 states (3, to be precise, and 4, to be even more precise), l see no reason to get updet which centre of power controls a territory when innessence, it belongs to the Alliance. Beaurocrats will sort it out amongst themselves.

          • Alex George

            You clearly don;t know much about Ukraine. Its dependency on Russia has been getting less with each month that passes.

            There is zero chance that Russia and Ukraine will even be in association again, let alone be in an “alliance”. Putin’s aggression in 2014 profoundly changed Ukrainian attitudes towards Russia.

            That is why this is an unusual case, and why the Ukrainain government has to work to get rid of this dependency also.

          • туфтуф

            Ukraine’s geographical location is a decisive factor. Sukashvili said it would take 20 yrs for Ukraine to reach the level of economic development it had under Yanukovich. Not that he is an authority to be trusted but l reckon he is right. Ischenko goes further saying there is no economy in Ukraine at all.

          • Alex George

            Ukraine is already catching up with where it was before the Russians attacked, and it will go way past that.

            You are right about one thing – Ukraine’s geographical location positions it to be a dominant trading and economic power in coming years. It is the gateway to Europe for China, which will make it far more wealthy than Russia is now.

            “Ischenko goes further saying there is no economy in Ukraine at all”

            Which makes Ischenko an ignorant moron

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            I’m not convinced of the argument that the plants won’t burn it. Basically a steam boiler doesn’t care what its fuel is- it can burn anything from oil to gas to coal in varying grades. The only difference is in the combustion equipment, which may require some modification.
            I suspect that certain “interested parties” have spread the tale that the plants can ONLY burn anthracite, because they profit from the deals with the Kolorads.
            To illustrate the point, in the days of coal-fired steamships a ship could burn anything from Welsh steam coal to Indian coal. Welsh steam coal was the best grade; Indian coal was of poorer quality, but nevertheless ships did use it- and still proceeded from one port to another.
            At the very least a mix of 90% anthracite and 10% bituminous could be tried if 100% bituminous can’t be used- even that would reduce the income the Kolorads get.

          • Quartermaster

            Ship board steam plants had a much different feed than do coal fired power plants – a fireman with a shovel. When I say the plant can’t burn something, that would entail having processing and feed equipment suitable to feed the stuff to the boiler. If the feed and process equipment is set up specifically for Anthracite, it is quite possible that Bituminous coal can’t stand up to the processing to get to the feed. Anthracite coal is much harder than Bituminous coal.

            When it gets to the combustion chamber any coal will basically have been reduced to powder first. If the coal must be Anthracite, then I would say the dirtier burning stuff may well clog firesides to the point that it bogs the entire process down, producing far more ash than the equipment can handle.

            There are people in the west that could look the equipment over and be able to tell them if trying to feed bituminous coal would be a problem. That DTEK seems not to care tells me that Ukriane needs to nationalize the utility and start changing things to what ever is required to be able to feed and burn bituminous.

  • Nowhere Girl

    At a time, the economy of Donbas will have to be restructured anyway. We MUST stop or greatly reduce burning fossil fuels. It’s a matter of survival of civilization as we know it: if the climate continues to change as it does, in 200-300 years about a half of today’s inhabited areas may become uninhabitable.

    • Alex George

      Yes, these old Soviet power stations are a classic example of inefficiency as well as pollution.

  • туфтуф

    Zaharchenko: we need the whole of Ukraine. Can they still be called separatists? (My question)

    • Alex George

      Of course. Not for long however. His days are numbered, and he knows it .

      • туфтуф

        Oh, thanx for telling me. I was getting worried he will try to wage war on the rump ukraine.

        • Alex George

          With what?

          • туфтуф

            I forgot.

  • туфтуф

    Investors flood Russia with money. I dnt know how reliable a source FT is.

    https://www.ft.com/content/e8e27c3c-e9ae-11e6-893c-082c54a7f539