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Energy Deals Keep Lights On for Ukraine's New Year Festivities

Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn talks about new energy agreements at a news conference in Kyiv, Dec. 31, 2014.

Ukraine will have stable enough imports of coal and electricity to welcome the New Year with well-lit festive trees in homes and illuminations on the streets, national energy authorities said Wednesday.

"All Ukrainians will be able to greet the New Year with light. There will be no outages in the near future," Volodymyr Demchyshyn said at a news conference, striking an upbeat note after a year of war and upheaval in the former Soviet republic.

The state energy firm Ukrenergo has been carrying out phased power cuts because of a lack of coal for its thermal power plants caused by the separatist conflict in the east, a mining region whose coal supplies generate around 40 percent of electricity.

But Demchyshyn said a just-signed deal to import electricity from Russia could help stabilize supplies. Also, Ukrainian companies will be able to import around 1 million tons of coal early in the New Year, half of it coming from Russia.

"The issue on imports of power is resolved. We have had talks with Moldova, Belarus and Russia, and agreements for imports of 1,500 megawatts have been signed," Demchyshyn said. "All these will allow us to avoid any outages."