Ukraine will attract private capital to substitute Russian gas with coal produced domestically, Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Boiko told the press Wednesday, according to UKRINFORM.

"Private capital is already present in this sector, it is very profitable, considering the cost of gas," Boiko said, noting that it would be a public-private partnership.

"We increased coal production, in 2011 we produced about 82 million tons of coal, almost 10% more than over the previous year. We have the ability to replace gas with coal, and we will do it in part. We will use new technology which has already been tested in Europe and in China. We have conducted preliminary surveys and negotiations and will use the so-called water-coal technology, which allows not having air emissions," Boiko underscored.

At the same time, the minister said that Ukraine is ready to increase purchases of Russian gas, but at an affordable price. "I think that as soon as gas is cheaper, we will buy more," Boiko noted.

He said that today the President's position is that Ukraine will buy gas as much as necessary for the economy.

"We have voiced to our Russian partners the amounts and we will follow them," the official assured.

A reminder that earlier Boiko had said that Ukraine plans to switch all coal thermal power stations to coal-based operation in order to save 6 billion cubic meters of gas a year.

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