Hungarian energy group MOL has submitted transit fees to Ukraine, on behalf of Russia, to restart flows of oil crude from the country.
MOL revealed on Wednesday it had transferred the transit fee for the use of the Ukrainian section of the pipeline, which it said provided “a swift solution” to disruptions in supplies.
This follows EU sanctions blocking flows via the pipeline, putting pressure on European countries still reliant on Kremlin-backed energy supplies.
The payment reflects the growing uncertainty over sanctions in the face of anticipated supply shortages this winter, raising the prospect of fractures within Europe over the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
State-owned news agency RIA has now reported that pipeline monopoly Transneft planned to resume oil pumping through the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline.
This follows Transneft revealing Russian oil pipeline flows had been suspended to parts of central Europe since 4 August.
It laid the blame at Western sanctions, which prevented the payment of transit fees from Moscow to Ukraine.
Central European countries, including Hungary, are highly reliant on Russian energy.
Previously Hungary has criticised European Union (EU) sanctions against Moscow.
While it has signed up to plans to phase out Russian seaborne oil shipments this year, it delayed the sanctions for process to ensure pipelines were exempt from the measure.