A deal has been signed for Russian gas passing through Ukraine for European consumption. But supplies to Ukraine remain cut off.
The people of central and Eastern Europe last week suddenly had to face fierce winter weather without the benefit of gas.
Russia cut off the supply after a dispute with Ukraine over cost and Russia fears that Ukraine was siphoning off fuel for its own use.
It left tens of thousands of households shivering in sub zero temperatures.
Europe relies on Russia for a quarter of its supplies of gas which reaches them via a pipeline which passes through Ukraine.
But now Russia has agreed to re start supplies with Europe having signed a three way deal with the Ukraine.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, representing the EU presidency, flew to Kiev to persuade Ukraine to sign the deal.
It will allow EU, Ukrainian and Russian observers to monitor gas flows across Ukrainian territory.
SOUNDBITE: Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek saying: (Czech)
"Ukraine has done everything needed for the Russian Federation to restart gas supplies."
SOUNDBITE: Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko saying: (Ukrainian)
"We signed the protocol today so that there would be no complaints against Ukraine, that Ukraine is an obstacle to Russia for the renewal of gas supplies to the Europe Union. We have, as a country, demonstrated good will in order to be a good partner to the EU."
The deal does not restart supplies to Ukraine.
Relations between Moscow and Kiev are already tense because of Russian opposition to Ukraine joining NATO.
They have now suffered a further sharp downward lurch.
Penny Tweedie, Reuters
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