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How do you smuggle wagon loads of coal into the EU? In this episode of Energy and Innovation you'll learn how Anthracite, a form of hard coal, is funding the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Reporters, Karolina Baca-Pogorzelska and Michał Potocki explain how anthracite is transported out of the occupied regions of Ukraine and into the EU.
In 2014, Russian backed separatists invaded the Eastern part of Ukraine and established the territories called the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic. In these territories are the anthracite mines, that the separatists took control of, and are now selling and shipping the coal through Russia to European and other international markets. Anthracite is a form of hard coal, often used in metallurgy, like steel making and in other chemical processes.
In this episode you'll understand how the label 'conflict minerals', does not ONLY apply to diamonds or minerals we find in batteries. But also how conflict resources fund and fuel the Russian separatist in Eastern Ukraine.
Despite sanctions on Russia and separatists, the trade in Ukrainian Anthracite still exists in a gray area which does not prohibit the buying of it in the EU. For more information, check out the show notes, where you'll find links to Michal and Karolina's work on this topic in English.
And a final note in this introduction. My apologies for the quality of the interview audio. We recorded the interview in a café in Warsaw after I met Michal and Carolina while I was doing my own research on the Polish energy sector. As you may know these early episodes of my podcast are a process of learning. And there's a lot of technical issues for me to learn about - that's an understatement. Regardless of some audio issues - mainly my with my own voice, I think you'll find the conversation fascinating to understand how you can even begin to smuggle wagon loads of coal out of a country and into the EU to make money out of it.