Russia will remain a reliable supplier of energy to Europe and a natural gas deal struck with Ukraine will ensure stable gas deliveries over the winter, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Thursday.
"I want to reassure you that Russia has always been a reliable supplier of energy resources to Europe and other consumers. It has been, is and will be a reliable supplier," Novak told a news conference after Russia and Ukraine agreed to a gas supply deal.
"The autumn and winter period is safe (in Ukraine) and the supply to European consumers is also stable. We are convinced that our future relations will be constructive and that our agreements will be fulfilled," he said.
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the gas deal could be the first sign of an easing of tension between the two countries.
"This is perhaps the first sign of a wise and well-functioning neighborhood policy and is perhaps the first glimmer of a relaxation in the relationship between the two neighboring countries," he told a news conference after Russia, Ukraine and the European Union signed the accord.