Leaders from Kiev and Brussels were busy this weekend warming up their energy ties as Vladimir Putin bailed out early from the G20 summit in sunny Australia where he faced one could shoulder after another from international leaders over his actions in Ukraine.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko spent Saturday and Sunday receiving a warm welcome from Visegard state leaders meeting in Slovakia (he is pictured above with his Czech, Polish, Slovakian and Hungarian couterparts). He also received guarantees from Bratislava that his country – still at odds with Moscow over fair natural gas prices – would be guaranteed what officials said could amount to 21bn cubic metres of annual reverse flow inflows, enough to meet a majority of the country’s import needs.

On Friday, Maroš Šefčovič, the new European Commission vice president overseeing energy affairs, demonstrated Brussels’ dedication to stand by Ukraine at this difficult moment by making his first foreign visit to Kiev.

No agreements were signed but the discussions in the halls of Ukrainian government were full of smiles and warm handshakes.

It was a striking break from the previous stiff talks held by EU energy officials with counterparts in Kiev sitting atop what has long been the most corrupt sector of the country’s economy.

Further underpinning the mood of solidarity, two senior officials insisted on holding an interview with the Financial Times jointly.

In a scene unimaginable in past years, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, the EU’s director of the Internal Energy Market, who joined Sefcovic for the trip, sat alongside Yuriy Vitrenko, managing director of international business at financially troubled state gas company Naftogaz.

Though fears of winter supply disruptions dissipated this month after the EU brokered a temporary winter supply agreement between Kiev and Moscow, a plunging domestic currency, recession deepened by what local officials claim is an undeclared war waged by Russia using separatist proxies, and below market consumer pricing continue to complicate Naftogaz’s ability to pay for imports.

Ukraine, which is being kept financially afloat thanks to a $17bn International Monetary Fund bailout, is relying heavily on central bank reserves to cover more than $3bn in unpaid invoices owed to Gazprom.

To make additional gas purchases, Kiev now seems likely to get additional financial assistance from the EU and other western lenders.

As if playing music to Kiev’s ears, Borchardt said: “There will be additional financing. There is a request from Ukraine for another €2bn of financial assistance. We have already two programmes in place. And now they have asked for a third, which is now under examination by the commission. It will be decided early next year.”

That’s in addition to some €200m recently wired to Ukraine as part of macro financial assistance not specifically earmarked for gas import purchases but sanctioned to be used for it, Borchardt said, adding that another €500m should arrive soon.

Kiev also stands to receive additional tranches from the IMF and assistance from IFIs such as the EBRD and World Bank… pending reforms, of course.

With Vitrenko at his side, Borchardt described the new English-speaking energy team managing Naftogaz under Ukraine’s new pro-western government as the most open, transparent and reform-minded he had encountered. He described energy relations of Kiev – Ukraine being a major transit corridor for Russian gas to European markets – and Brussels as “mutual”.

“If Ukraine consumers don’t get their gas, EU consumers won’t get their gas,” he said.

Just as western leaders in Brisbane told Putin, both Borchardt and Vitrenko stressed that stability and prosperity – in this case in energy – was not possible in the broader region without a reasonable relationship with Russia, something they stressed was desperately wanted

“We want normal relations, fair prices,” Vitrenko said, adding that if Gazprom would not agree itself, the issue would be solved by a pending Stockholm arbitration case.