Talks between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are due to begin in the row over gas supplies to parts of Europe.

The directors of Russian state energy giant Gazprom and Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz, as well as Russian and Ukrainian energy officials, would also take part in the talks in Moscow, the news agency reports said.

The European Commission has said the talks are the last and best chance to resolve a dispute that has seen a large chunk of Europe struggling to cope with a cut-off of Russian gas supplies in the middle of a bitterly cold winter.