Russia said it would sign a deal Friday to resume natural gas supplies to Europe, fueling hopes for an end to Europe's energy crisis.
Russia's dispute with Ukraine has left large areas of Europe without heat as record freezing temperatures hit many parts of the continent, shutting down factories, schools and hospitals.
Russia's Gazprom said it would restart gas supplies as soon as an international monitoring team was in place to verify the flow of Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine. Russia shut off those supplies on Wednesday, accusing Ukraine of siphoning them off. Kiev denies the accusation.
A major stumbling block to a European Union-brokered deal was removed when Ukraine agreed to allow Russian observers to take part in the monitoring team.
But there's been no sign of movement on the underlying price dispute that caused Russia to initially shut off gas to Ukraine's domestic market.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev lashed out at Ukraine's leaders Friday, accusing them of stealing. He said Russia wasn't budging from its insistence that Ukraine pay more than double what Kiev says it is prepared to pay for Russian gas, although the Russians have said they will pay Ukraine more for carrying Russian gas to Europe.
European Union monitors are already in Ukraine, but it may take days for gas to start flowing to the hundreds of thousands of Europeans without heat, held hostage by Moscow's dispute with its former Soviet neighbor.