A plan to build a pipeline to reduce central and eastern Europe’s dependence on Russian oil has been signed by five former communist countries in Lithuania.

Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Georgia agreed to back an extension to the Odessa to Brody pipeline through Ukraine, to take it to Plock in Poland.

From there, the oil, sourced in the Caspian region and shipped across the Black Sea, could go to Gdansk on the Baltic coast or to Lithuania.

Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s pro-western president, said: “This is a historic moment when the project of transporting Kazakh oil to Europe shifts from a political to practical sphere.”

However, some analysts said they doubted whether the extension would ever be built…