The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline will begin by the end of 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday.
Putin has reminded that the project has received additional support, as it has been backed by Turkey.
"Turkey approved the passing through of the pipeline through its exclusive economic zone," he said, as cited by ITAR-TASS.
The project is expected to become operational by the end of 2015.
The South Stream pipeline is intended to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Central and Southern Europe annually, diversifying Russian gas routes away from transit countries such as Ukraine.
The pipe will go from Russia to Bulgaria via the Black Sea; in Bulgaria it will split in two – with the northern leg going through Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia to Austria and Northern Italy, and the southern leg going through Greece to Southern Italy.
On Monday, Putin and the European Union's leadership will hold talks at the 29th EU-Russia summit in St. Petersburg.