The European Union said here on Monday that it expects Russian gas to resume flowing to Europe on Tuesday morning as Ukraine gave up its unilateral demand attached to the original deal.
"In the morning Ukraine gave up its unilateral declaration and gas supplies will start via Ukraine to the EU tomorrow morning," Czech Industry Minister Martin Riman told a press conference after chairing an EU energy ministers' extraordinary meeting. The Czech Republic now holds the rotating EU presidency.
Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs echoed the minister on the same occasion, saying: "We expect that the gas will start to flow at 8:00 (Central Europe time) (0700 GMT) on Tuesday."
"The Ukraine gas company assured us that (they are) doing the utmost they could (to) guarantee transit for 10 to 12 hours ... that means in about 24 hours that gas is back to consumers," Piebalgs said.
According to the Czech presidency, Russian representatives promised to reopen the taps following the signing by all parties of an agreement on monitoring the transit route for Russian gas, in Brussels before the extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers.
Ukraine re-signed the deal, removing obstacles to restart Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine. Piebalgs put the last signature under the protocol on monitoring Russian gas supplies.
But neither Piebalgs nor Riman seemed relieved by the latest progress. Piebalgs warned that if gas supplies could not resume on Tuesday morning, it would be clear "who to blame" for the cutoff of the supplies.