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 PerryRick PerryTop National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative Rick Perry to rejoin dental insurance company as chief strategy officer 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.

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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 Ross2020 census to run ads on 'Premio lo Nuestro' Can the US slap tariffs on auto imports? Not anymore On The Money: Slowing economy complicates 2020 message for Trump | Tech confronts growing impact of coronavirus | Manufacturing rises after five-month contraction 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.