Some 940,000 tonnes of anthracite and another 95,000 tonnes of other types of coal mined in the occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions were shipped to Russia in 2016, according to Liga.net.
These were statistics that were officially recorded by the Russian Railways, Liga.net reports.
In 2015, around 1.3 million tonnes of anthracite coal alone was illegally exported from Ukraine to Russia.
Petroleum Capital and Vneshtorgservice that are the firms of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych`s ally, young energy tycoon Serhiy Kurchenko, as well as a number of other companies are reported to be smuggling coal from occupied Donbas to Russia.
Further, the coal is allegedly exported to European and African countries. This scheme started to work smoothly two years ago.
Russia`s state agencies register shipments of Donbas coal as imports from Ukraine. The suppliers that were founded by the leaders of the so-called DPR and LPR (self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People`s Republics) are mentioned in documents as Ukrainian companies.
Then the recipients of coal products in Russia re-register the illegal coal and export it from Russian ports or supply it to a Gazprom-owned power plant in the south of Russia.
Part of the coal smuggled from Donbas returns to Ukraine under the guise of South African coal for the needs of the state-owned power generating company PJSC Centrenergo.
In addition to Kurchenko`s structures, coal shipments from Donbas are handled by Coal Technologies from Russia`s Rostov-on-Don. The founder of the company is Valery Donskov. Vyacheslav Druchenko and Alexander Melnichuk were later mentioned among the owners of Coal Technologies. Each of them owns 33% of the trader`s charter capital.
Media outlets registered in occupied Donbas mention Melnichuk as ”Deputy Energy Minister of the Luhansk People`s Republic.”
He also owns 10% in the Crimean Fuel and Energy Company (CFEC) in Simferopol, founded in September 2014. Serhiy Ogurtsov, listed as an assistant to the fugitive ex-MP Oleh Tsarev in the Verkhovna Rada, is a majority owner of CFEC via Dnipro-based Yug-Skan company.
Melnichuk has a brother, Serhiy, who is the owner of Kyiv-registered Rovenky-Vuhlepostach, which was the largest legal exporter of anthracite produced in occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions until March this year. The company bought the coal from Rinat Akhmetov`s DTEK holding. Due to the blockade of the occupied areas, Rovenky-Vuhlepostach suspended the exports.
As earlier reported, in April 2017, Vneshtorgservice, registered in South Ossetia, which is an occupied Georgian territory, took up the management of the Ukrainian metallurgical plants located in occupied Donbas.