Russia has commenced the supply of natural gas to Uzbekistan through Kazakhstan, reported the Russian news agency TASS.

Announcing the news, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the initiative is mutually beneficial and is aimed at boosting the energy security of the region.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev were also present at the lunch event in Moscow.

As per the two-year deal, Russian company Gazprom will supply nine million cubic metres of gas per day to Uzbekistan, reported Reuters.

The daily volume equates to roughly 2.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) annually.

Uzbekistan will use the imported gas to make up for shortages during the cold season.

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Putin added: “Uzbekistan will receive an additional source of energy, ensuring continuous supply of heat and electricity to households and socially significant facilities. Kazakhstan will be able to tackle the issue of gasification in its northern and eastern areas; Gazprom is already working on acceptable gas delivery routes and criteria.

“Russia confirms its status as a reliable supplier of natural gas, and we are open to further cooperation. We will strive to meet the needs of all our Kazakh and Uzbek friends, partners and other consumers interested in this type of fuel.”

Speaking at the event, according to TASS, Mirziyoyev said Uzbekistan is ready for a long-term gas partnership with Russia and Kazakhstan.

Additionally, Tokayev expressed willingness to increase the volume of Russian gas being transported via Kazakhstan.

“Over 20,000km of main gas pipelines with annual throughput capacity of up to 255bcm pass through Kazakhstani territory. Kazakhstan is interested in fully using its transit potential and is ready to increase the volume of Russian gas transportation,” Tokayev said at the event.

The agreement is said to give a boost to Russia’s oil and gas industry, which is facing sanctions from Europe and the US over the invasion of Ukraine.