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The head of Russia's Gazprom says it could resume gas shipments through Ukraine to Europe on January 9 if an agreement on the deployment of international monitors is signed.

Aleksei Miller's comments came after both Moscow and Kyiv appeared to accept an EU plan to deploy monitors -- including Russians -- to check on the flows of Russian gas across pipelines that transit Ukraine.

The flow of gas has been suspended over a payments dispute leaving some 15 European nations with no Russian gas or drastically cut supplies.

The European Union said Russia and Ukraine had agreed on the details of the gas monitoring mission and that EU observers had arrived in Kyiv.

The EU said it would take three days for gas supplies to reach Europe once shipments resume.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, arrived in Kyiv on January 9 for talks on resolving the crisis. Topolanek is then due to fly to Moscow tomorrow for talks on the gas crisis with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

compiled from agency reports