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Greece is planning to boost coal mining over the next two years to cut down its reliance on Russian energy in the wake of its military attack on Ukraine, Reuters reported citing Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The move would serve as a “temporary” measure for the country, which depends on Russian gas to meet nearly 40% of its annual energy requirements.

Mitsotakis was quoted as saying: “Certainly for the next two years, it would make sense increasing coal-fired energy generation by ramping up its mining by 50% so that we cut reliance on gas in the short-term.”

In the event of a potential Russian gas flow halt, Greece has been looking into adding a floating tank at its only LNG terminal off Athens to secure energy supplies as well as increasing spare coal-fired capacity at power utility Public Power Corp (PPC).

PPC official told Reuters: “The plan was to extract ten million tonnes of lignite this year, and this will be increased to 15 million tonnes.”

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Referring to the European Union’s aims to reduce CO₂ emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieve zero emissions by 2050, the official said: “Our policy needs to be flexible and adapt to temporary conditions without veering away from our main orientation.”

Meanwhile, several European nations are boosting coal shipments from across the globe, following a proposed ban by the European Union on coal imports from Russia, reported Reuters.

According to the European Commission, EU imports around 45% of its coal from Russia. It also depends on Russia for 45% of its gas imports and around 25% of its oil imports.