Russian gas was on its way to Europe on Tuesday after the Russian monopoly Gazprom began pumping it into a Ukrainian transit pipeline for the first time since a nearly two week supply blockade began.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said in Moscow that Gazprom began the deliveries at 4 am and Gazprom said it would resume normal gas flows to Europe about six hours later.
The supply resumed after both countries laid aside a bitter dispute over fees and the illegal siphoning of gas, which had cut European countries off from energy supplies in the middle of a harsh winter.
Ukraine said it would not obstruct the deliveries, but experts said even after the taps are reopened, it could take at least one day for gas flows to reach Europe.
The European Union has been hard hit by the gas row since Russia cut all supplies via Ukraine Jan 7, accusing it of stealing gas transits.
Roughly one quarter of all gas burned in the EU comes from Russia, and 80 per cent of it passes through Ukrainian pipelines.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without heating fuel, and factories and schools have been forced to close as sub freezing temperature swept countries in Eastern Europe most severely affected by the gas cut off.
Russia cut gas to Ukraine Jan 1 after it refused a fixed price of 250 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres a huge increase over the $179.50 Ukraine paid last year. Tymoshenko said she expected a price of $230 this year.