BRUSSELS: Russia agreed to resume gas deliveries to war-torn Ukraine through the winter in an European Union (EU)-brokered, multi-billion dollar deal signed by the three parties in Brussels on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
In a hard-fought accord the EU hopes will ease the broader crisis over Ukraine, Russia agreed to ensure supplies until the end of March.
“I’m glad that political responsibility, the logic of cooperation and simple economic sense have prevailed,” EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told a press conference.
He hailed the end of a bitter gas dispute that saw Russia cut supplies to Ukraine in June, insisting Kiev pay for deliveries up front.
“There is no reason for people in Europe to be cold this winter,” Barroso said, referring to fears that Russia could have turned the Ukraine taps off, disrupting onward supplies to many European Union countries.
Ukraine Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said the “decisions taken today will provide energy security for Ukraine and the EU.”
The deal caps two days of marathon talks that had stalled before dawn on Thursday when Russia demanded that the EU first agree with Ukraine how to pay Kiev’s outstanding bills and finance gas deliveries through to March.