Fighting in Ukraine traps miners underground

Heavy fighting in Ukraine has cut power to a coal mine, trapping around 30 miners underground.

Fighting between rebel militia and Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk region saw heavy shelling which cut power to the region, trapping the miners, according to Russian news wire Itar-Tass.

The men have reportedly been trapped in the Komsomolets-Donbasu mine since Sunday.

“About 30 miners remain trapped underground. All measures are being taken to rescue the miners,” the militia said.

Efforts are currently underway to restore power to the embattled region to rescue the miners.

Concerns are rising as shelling continues however, as the mine is known to have high levels of methane, and is poorly ventilated.

“The mine is explosion-prone. With no ventilation, concentration of methane can rise triggering an explosion,” Donbas Fuel-Energy Company (DTEK) explained in a company statement.

Late last month operations were suspended at the same mine due to rising risks to miners' lives on their way to work as fighting intensified in the immediate region around the mine.

The mine is one of the largest coal reserves in Ukraine, and has an estimated 137.5 million tonnes insitu.

In a bizarre twist, citizens of the Donetsk region have previously pushed to become a part of the UK, looking to the region's historical founding by a Welsh mining magnate.

The campaign is taken to be tongue-in-cheek, in parody of the Crimean referendum to join Russia, but the inspiration comes from the identity of the founding father of Donestk, a Welshman named John Hughes.

Hughes founded the city in 1869 when he built a steel plant and several coal mines in the southern part of the Russian Empire at Aleksandrovka.

Originally the town was called Hughesovka, or Yuzokva, after the local russified name John Yuz.

“Donetsk residents! English Brothers! The decisive moment has come,”the online campaign declared.

“We demand a referendum on returning Yuzovka to its historical fold as part of the UK! Glory to John Hughes and his city! God save the Queen!”

The campaign, which saw more than 7000 votes even garnered 16 per cent support for the city adopting English as its primary spoken language.

Donetsk is the fifth largest city in Ukraine, and was the home of ousted president Viktor Yanokovich.

Australian Mining has previously featured a gallery of what life is like in an Ukrainian underground coal mine. Click here to see the images.

Image: Business Insider

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