In the latest economic battle between Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine announced that beginning Friday, it would suspend its electricity imports from Russia, local news source Interfax reported. Ukraine imported 400 megawatts from Russia per day, and the move was seen as part of Ukraine’s drive to become less economically dependent on its neighbor.
“We will most likely stop receiving any electricity from Russia,” said Volodymyr Demchyshyn, Ukraine’s minister of energy and coal industry, according to Tass. “This is a process step. We have a lot of power generating units that are not used.”
A representative from Ukraine’s energy company Ukrenergo confirmed “there will be no request for tomorrow.” Russia’s energy ministry said it was scheduled to deliver supplies until Thursday.
Russia and Ukraine have long been economically linked. Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, Ukrainian officials have been searching for alternative economic options and ways to cut their dependence on Russia’s economy. Ukraine banned flights to Russia in October, causing Russia to retaliate and ban flights to Ukraine.
The war that began in Eastern Ukraine in April 2014 has pitted Ukrainian troops against Russian-backed separatists, resulting in the deaths of more than 8,000 people and the displacement of more than 1.4 million. Ukraine’s Donbass industrial heartland has been largely destroyed by the conflict. Russia has continued to deny that it plays any direct role in the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia’s economy has been hurt by the conflict, with the United States and European Union applying economic sanctions. Coupled with the low global price of oil, Russia’s economy shrank by 4.1 percent year-to-year in the third quarter, the Financial Times reported Thursday.
Fighting in Eastern Ukraine had decreased after a September ceasefire, but reports in recent days have shown an uptick in fighting again. Ukrainian authorities warned that Russia was preparing a large-scale “provocation,” local media reported Thursday.