Perry to visit Ukraine, Poland to discuss alternatives to Russian energy

Perry to visit Ukraine, Poland to discuss alternatives to Russian energy
© Greg Nash

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryAmazon taps Trump ally to lobby amid Pentagon cloud-computing contract fight How to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy Senior Trump administration official to leave post next week MORE will visit Ukraine and Poland next week as part of the Trump administration's efforts to entice the two countries into pursuing alternatives to buying coal and natural gas from Russia.

In particular, the Trump administration wants to boost U.S. coal exports as domestic coal consumption has dropped while at the same time the administration tries to help the struggling industry.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a press release Thursday reported by Reuters, the Energy Department stated that Perry would meet with experts on a number of topics, including nuclear energy and cybersecurity, on his trip, while adding that Perry would also visit Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Poland, according to Reuters, relies on Russia for more than half of its natural gas imports under a long-term deal set to expire in 2022. A Ukrainian company, Centrenergo PJSC, agreed last year to buy 700,000 tons of U.S. coal in a deal with a Pennsylvania coal company that was touted at the time by the Trump administration.

“In recent years, Kiev and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on. That changes now,” Perry said in a statement last year.

“The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative, and today we are pleased to announce that we will," he added.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossReport: Ross 'tends to fall asleep' in Commerce meetings History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week The Hill's 12:30 Report: 'Send her back' chants stun Washington MORE also praised the deal last year, adding that it would “allow Ukraine to diversify its energy sources ... [and help] bolster a key strategic partner against regional pressures that seek to undermine U.S. interests.”

The Trump administration also inked a deal with Ukraine's government earlier this year to provide an additional $200 million in defensive aid to the country, which is dealing with a Russian-supported insurgency the east.