Russia to begin supplying gas to Ukraine as early as next week

Russia and Ukraine reached a deal on Friday to get natural gas shipments flowing back to Kiev in time for winter.

The talks, brokered by the European Union, came to a conclusion on Friday, as Russia and Ukraine signed a $4.6 billion agreement that guarantees Russian will send gas supplies to Ukraine and on to the EU, The Associated Press reports.

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The shipments will begin after a first debt installment is paid, said Alexei Miller, chief of Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom.

A final deal quelled concerns that Europe and Ukraine would have difficulty dealing with a harsh winter.

Miller said on Friday that Gazprom expects Ukraine to pay its first installment of $1.45 billion before the end of next week, after which it will start gas flow to Ukraine within 48 hours.

Russia’s gas stranglehold on Ukraine after its annexation of Crimea increased calls in Congress for the U.S. to expedite natural gas exports to its non-Free Trade Agreement allies.