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Russia to restore gas supply to Europe

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  • NEW: Russia will start pumping natural gas to Europe again, Gazprom says
  • Announcement came after Russia signed agreement to end dispute with Ukraine
  • Row between Moscow, Kiev grew over price Ukraine pays for Russian gas
  • Dispute left countries across Europe with gas shortages in unusually cold winter
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russia will start pumping natural gas to Europe again Tuesday after an interruption of nearly a week, energy giant Gazprom's deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said Monday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine had modified an EU-brokered gas deal.

A woman passes in front of a manometer set on a gas pipe in the Ukrainian city of Boyarka, near Kiev.

The announcement came after Russia signed an agreement to end a bitter dispute with Ukraine, which transports Russia gas to Europe via pipeline.

The weeks-long confrontation between Moscow and Kiev interrupted supplies to countries from Turkey to the Baltics during an unusually cold winter.

They agreed earlier to a deal which the European Union brokered to end the standoff, but Sunday it looked as if the deal had hit the rocks. Video Watch more about the settlement »

Russia said it was off because Ukraine -- the key transit country -- had attached unacceptable terms to the agreement.

Russia responded furiously, with the country's president and prime minister and the head of Gazprom all weighing in. Video Watch what led to the breakdown in the deal »

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on television the attachment was unauthorized, and "ties up the existing problem (of transit) with issues that have nothing to do with it."

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told Russia reporters the attachment was "an attempt to legalize the theft" of gas, Interfax reported.

But Monday it appeared the deal was back on, and a delegation from Russia went to Brussels to sign it.

"We held talks in Kiev this morning. After the talks the Ukrainian side signed the rules for monitoring natural gas transit via Ukraine without any additional remarks," Deputy Gazprom CEO Valery Golubev told reporters.

Moscow and Kiev have been at loggerheads over the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas, which it distributes to other countries across Europe via pipeline.

Russia demanded sharply higher prices as of the beginning of the year, which Ukraine refused to pay. Russia shut off Ukraine's gas supply as the dispute escalated, and then cut all gas supplies to Europe on Wednesday.

The Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Ukrainian company Naftogaz have been trading accusations about supply. The Russians have accused the Ukrainians of siphoning gas from the pipelines, while Ukraine says Russia has been pumping less than it should.

The dispute has affected the supply of natural gas as far west as Germany and France. About a quarter of Europe's natural gas supply comes from Gazprom.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, flew to Kiev and Moscow last week to broker the deal. Both sides agreed to allow international observers to monitor gas flow through the pipelines to end the argument about who was responsible for dips in supply.

When the monitors are in place, Gazprom will start pumping gas for European consumers, Putin said Monday, according to Interfax.


Even if a deal is signed, it could take from 10 to 30 hours for gas to be restored, Gazprom officials said, due to the need to rebuild pressure in the pipelines. At the moment, gas supplies are still off.

The agreement does not resolve the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over prices for gas to Europe. It deals only with gas destined for Europe, which has already been paid for.

CNN's Max Tkachenko and Michael Sefanov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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