Russia and Ukraine announced a deal Sunday to end the bitter dispute that has blocked Russian natural gas from for nearly two weeks and deeply shaken Europeans’ trust in the two as reliable energy suppliers.
The early morning agreement betweenand his Ukrainian counterpart came after intense negotiations.
By LYNN BERRY, Associated Press Writer
Still, relief for millions of frustrated consumers and businesses could be days away. The deal on 2009 gas prices is not likely to be finalized until at least Monday, when Tymoshenko returns to. If Russia turns on the taps immediately after the signing, it could take another day for the gas to travel hundreds of miles through Ukrainian pipelines to eastern Europe.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, greets Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who is in Moscow for talks aimed at restoring Russian natural gas supplies to Europe, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. Yulia Tymoshenko met with Vladimir Putin briefly before they both headed to the Kremlin for a broader conference. Ukrainian, Russian and European officials held talks in Moscow on Saturday in an effort to restore Russian natural gas supplies to Europe after a damaging 11-day halt in deliveries piped across Ukraine.(AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
The European Commission welcomed the announcement cautiously.
“We have seen many false dawns in this dispute, and the test in this case is whether the gas flows to Europe’s consumers,” the commission said.
Russia stopped selling gas to Ukraine for domestic use on Jan. 1 in a dispute over prices. On Jan. 7, Moscow then halted all shipments to Europe via Ukraine, alleging that Ukraine was siphoning off Europe-bound gas. Ukraine disputed this, claiming that Russia was not sending enough “technical gas” to push the rest further west.