Natural resources and energy
Ukraine has good assets on coal and iron, as
well as manganese, nickel and uranium. There are
deposits of natural gas and oil, but the country is
largely dependent on imports to meet its extensive
The main iron ore deposit is located in the district
of Kryvyj Rih in the south. Coal is mainly mined in the
Donetsk fields (Donbas) in eastern Ukraine. The coal has
relatively low quality and is broken under increasingly
difficult conditions, which has resulted in falling
production and many accidents (see Labor market). The
conflict in eastern Ukraine has also led to reduced
production and supply problems.
Major exports by Ukraine with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Coal accounts for about one third of the country's
energy production. Ukraine has been heavily dependent on
natural gas and oil from Russia. Higher prices of mainly
natural gas have forced Ukraine to reduce imports, which
has periodically led to energy shortages. The cheap gas
that came from Russia during the Soviet era laid the
foundation for waste of energy, a habit that Ukraine has
had a hard time getting rid of. Energy consumption in
Ukraine is relatively higher than in Western Europe.
A large part of Russian oil and gas sold to Western
Europe has usually been transported by pipelines from
the Soviet era over Ukrainian territory. It has brought
Ukraine large revenues in the form of so-called transit
fees; In 2017, state Naftogaz was reported to have
earned nearly $ 1.1 billion on transit contracts. At the
same time, recurring disputes with Russia over the price
of natural gas purchases and transit fees have on
several occasions caused major disruptions in deliveries
to the rest of Europe (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
The share of Russian gas exports going through Ukraine
fell from about 80 percent to 60 percent as the Nord
Stream pipeline was commissioned in 2011-2012. The
continued expansion in the Baltic Sea of Nord Stream 2
between Russia and Germany, and the prospect of revenue
declines further, worries Ukraine. Before the New Year
2020, a new agreement was signed with Russia on reduced
transit volumes, and they will continue to be reduced.
By 2024, transit gas through Ukraine is estimated to
have reduced to 40 billion cubic meters per year from 65
billion cubic meters in 2020 (and from 90 billion
according to the previous contract; this is more than
half a five-year period).
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Ukraine has worked actively to get rid of the
dependence on energy imports from Russia. Prior to the
Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014,
Ukraine purchased Russian gas, at a discount because the
peninsula housed a Russian naval base. Since November
2015, Ukraine does not buy any Russian gas at all.
Instead, gas now comes from about ten suppliers in
Western Europe. At the same time, increased prices to
consumers have reduced waste and pushed down
Hopes to extract natural gas from shale with the help
of several American energy companies have so far stalled
because of the war in the east. But the potential is
great; shale gas reserves are believed to be among the
largest in Europe and new technology with high-pressure
drills can provide access to previously inaccessible
deposits. However, there are major environmental
objections to this form of energy recovery.
Nuclear power accounts for just under half of
electricity production in Ukraine. The Chernobyl power
plant was completely shut down in 2000. The remaining
four nuclear power plants have a total of 15 reactors,
three of which were added after the country's
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,334 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
3419 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
227 299 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
5.0 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
4.1 percent (2015)
Cheating is allowed
Julia Tymoshenko's hunger strikes for almost three weeks in protest against
electoral fraud and within her party, votes are being raised to boycott the new
parliament. The Central Election Commission admits that such gross errors were
committed in five one-man constituencies that the election must be redone there.
Big election victory for the government
The parliamentary election will be a clear victory for the ruling Regions
Party. Two new parties succeed in entering Parliament through the party lists:
the Western-oriented Udar and the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom). Julia
Tymoshenko's motherland receives just over 25 percent of the vote. More than
half of the 225 mandates distributed in direct elections in one-man
constituencies go to the Party of Regions and a further number to formally
independent candidates supporting President Yanukovych. The opposition complains
about election fraud and is partially supported by OSCE observers.
Language law protests
Powerful protests have erupted since Parliament passed a law that gives
Russian status as a "regional language" in areas where it is the mother tongue
of at least 10 percent of the population. The law forces all authorities to
provide services in regional languages. The opposition party is accused by the
opposition of wanting to bring Ukraine closer to Russia's sphere of interest.
Political summit postponed
With a few days' notice, a planned regional summit in Yalta is postponed
indefinitely. The reason is that 13 of the 20 invited European heads of state or
government said they would not come. The absence is linked to criticism of
Tymoshenko's treatment. She is reported to have interrupted her hunger strike
after 19 days after being taken to hospital.
New trial against Tymoshenko
Tymoshenko is again being tried, now for tax evasion. She does not find
herself in court with reference to severe back problems. German doctors who have
had her examined in prison say she needs advanced care. She later launches a
hunger strike in protest at how she is being treated in prison. Information that
she would have been beaten by guards in connection with a hospital transport is
noted with concern by the EU, prompting the German president to cancel a planned
visit to Ukraine.
More Tymoshenko ministers are imprisoned
Former Minister of the Environment Heorhij Filiptjuk is sentenced to three
years in prison for abuse of power for having signed a contract with a law firm
in connection with oil exploration in the Black Sea. A few days later, former
Deputy Defense Minister Valerij Ivashchenko is sentenced to prison for illegal
privatization of a state shipyard.
Tymoshenko's interior minister is imprisoned
Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who has been incarcerated without
trial since December 2010, is sentenced to four years in prison for abuse of
position and embezzlement. The court also orders that his assets be confiscated.
Both the European Commission and the Council of Europe criticize the verdict for
being politically motivated and demand that Lutsenko be released.