KIEV, Ukraine, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Ukraine aims to increase the production of its own natural resources by exploring alternative resources and expanding coal production, the president said.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said his country decided two years ago to increase the amount of energy it produces through domestic resources.
"We increased coal production by 14 million tons in two years," he was quoted by the National News Agency of Ukraine as saying. "This is a very serious figure and we're continuing to walk this path."
He said coal production last year passed the 82 million-ton mark and there was now a surplus of at least 5 million tons.
Kiev is trying to persuade Russian natural gas company Gazprom to lower prices for the cash-strapped country. Ukraine pays some of the highest prices for natural gas in Europe.
Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving time in prison for her role in the most recent deal with Gazprom. Yanukovych said the prices under that deal have a "stranglehold" on his country's economy.
Apart from coal, Ukraine holds vast reserves of shale natural gas.