Uzbekistan will import natural gas from Russia for the first time ever as the Central Asian country faces an energy crisis, authorities said Thursday.

Despite being home to a wealth of natural resources, including gas, Uzbekistan has faced energy shortages amid historically cold temperatures.

Like its neighbours Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan suffers frequent power and heating cuts due to ageing infrastructure.

An energy ministry spokesman told AFP the gas deliveries, via an agreement with Russian energy giant Gazprom, will begin on March 1.

Uzbek gas firm Uztransgaz said the country had never imported Russian gas before.

The amount of deliveries and the cost of the transaction have not been made public.

The agreement comes as Russia has slashed exports to Europe amid tensions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and is seeking to redirect them to Asia.

European countries have also sought to reduce their reliance on Russian gas since the war broke out in February 2022.