Gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine are to restart this morning on the orders of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The move comes after a row with Ukraine over unpaid bills led to Russia halting gas deliveries at a time of freezing temperatures across the continent. It is hoped normal service will be resumed within 24 hours. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Grygoriy Nemyrya said: “The standared procedure is 36 hours but we are trying to make sure, and that requires enhanced technological solutions to shorten this period to approximately 14-16 hours.” But, even as the order was given to resume supplies the Russian energy giant Gazprom accused Ukraine of creating a fresh crisis by disputing who would pay for technical gas – the fuel needed to restore pressure in the pipeline system. Russia has accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas bound for Europe to make up for a shortfall since Moscow cut supplies to the Ukraine on January 1st.