"At 4:00 a.m. Moscow time (01:00 GMT) an order was given to start transits at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time," Kupriyanov said.
The instruction was issued by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Naftogaz head Oleh Dubyna just hours after the Russian energy giant and Ukrainian gas company signed a contract on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine for 2009-2019.
The documents were signed in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko. The deal will see Kiev pay 20% less than the European market price, expected to be around $450 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter.
Russia will continue to pay $1.7 per 1,000 cubic meters for each 100 kilometers of gas transited.
The exact price Ukraine is due to pay for Russian gas has not been revealed, but the Ukrainian prime minister said that the average gas price would be less than $250 per 1,000 cu m.
Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine on January 1 after the former Soviet neighbors failed to reach an agreement on a new gas contract for 2009. A week later, Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to the European Union, saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.
Following mediation by the EU, the two sides signed a deal a week ago to resume supplies, but deliveries failed to restart, with each side blaming the other for the lack of progress. Almost 20 countries in Europe have been affected by the dispute with the EU calling the cut "completely unacceptable."
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