TBILISI (Reuters) -- Georgia has said it would resume natural-gas supplies to its breakaway South Ossetia region, cut since war with Russia in August.
Russia accused Georgia of dragging its feet in mending the damaged pipeline with temperatures in the region at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains plummeting below zero.
Georgia said the pipeline was damaged in a region occupied by Russian troops since August, making access difficult.
"The decision is made and supply of gas could be resumed either today or in a few days," Georgian Deputy Energy Minister Nino Enukidze told Reuters.
The director-general of gas supplier Itera Georgia, David Beradze, told Reuters the pipeline was being tested and gas supply would resume soon.
The company waited for special government permission because of Georgian legislation prohibiting commercial activity on the territory of South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia -- both recognized by Russia as independent states and secured by Russian troops.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is building a new pipeline crossing the mountains to allow Russia to supply gas to South Ossetia directly.