Slovakia’s natural gas pipeline operator Tuesday initiated deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine from the European Union state to help ease problems Kyiv has with its main supplier Russia.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico, attended a switching-on ceremony at a pipeline linking Slovakia's Vojany and the neighboring western Ukrainian town of Uzhhorod.
The deal for Ukraine to receive "reverse-flow" gas from Slovakia was brokered by Brussels to reduce Kyiv's dependence on Gazprom.
Hungary and Poland are currently supplying smaller amount of gas to Ukraine, but both are limited by pipeline capacity constraints.
Yatsenyuk said that thanks to the reverse-flow gas and offer of supplies coming from the EU, Ukraine will be able to replace 40 percent of the gas it usually receives from Russia.
The Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom announced huge price hikes for Ukraine after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted early this year.
On June 16, Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and said that in future, Kyiv would have to pay in advance for any new supplies of Russian gas.