PISAREVKA, RUSSIA — Russian natural gas finally flowed across Ukraine into Europe again Tuesday, after Moscow and Kiev pulled back from a dispute that drastically reduced supplies to many nations for two tough weeks.
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom began pumping to Ukraine about 10:30 a.m., spokesman Boris Sapozhnikov said from the Sudzha metering station on the border. Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz confirmed that gas was flowing through Sudzha, Pisarevka and other gas metering stations on its eastern border.
Several hours later, gas began crossing Ukraine's western border into Slovakia, and deliveries were reported in Hungary, Bulgaria and Moldova -- some of the nations hardest hit by the dispute. Farther west, gas also reached Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia.
The 27-nation European Union gets about a quarter of its natural gas from Russia.
Moscow had halted the flow in a dispute with Ukraine, which had balked at increased prices for 2009. Russia first cut off shipments to Ukraine, and then, alleging that it was stealing gas destined for Europe, shut off all gas Jan 7. Ukraine denied the charge, saying Russia had not sent enough "technical gas" to pump the rest toward Europe.