Ukraine prepares for a winter without Russian gas

With pressure mounting to resolve the gas dispute with Russia, Ukraine is preparing itself for a long, cold winter. The uncertainty about a shortfall in gas supplies has led to school holidays being extended to avoid heating classrooms during severe frosts. This school in Kyiv started preparing months ago.

“We are ready for the winter,” remarked teacher Darya Tkachenko. “An inspection in our school has been conducted. In many classrooms windows have been replaced by new ones which are energy efficient. Heat shields have been installed behind radiators in classrooms. We are going to keep it warm.”

In a country where the temperature can drop below zero for weeks on end, experts estimate that 30 billion cubic metres of gas is needed. Europe could provide just over half via reverse supply and the rest will come from its own reserves.

“If we are talking about gas volume, there’s enough of it,” explained gas expert Denys Sakva. “But there’s a concern about the speed of gas extraction from the storage. That speed will be likely not sufficient by the end of the winter.

Much of Ukraine’s coal mining industry is located in the conflict zone in the east, meaning shortages are likely. This has forced Kyiv to draw up emergency plans should Moscow choose to turn off the tap.

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