The European Union is now scrambling to broker a solution to the crisis and restore the flow of gas, critical to heat homes amid a record cold snap.
Paradoxically, some regions in gas-rich Russia, too, are reporting heating troubles.
Many households in the Russian republic of Tatarstan have switched to gas heating in recent years. And like Farida, who lives some 70 kilometers from the regional capital of Kazan, residents in rural areas of Tatarstan are reporting a substantial drop in home temperatures amid decreased pressure in gas pipelines.
"On December 20, we heated up our bath house, which runs on gas. That's when we noticed that it was taking a long time to get hot, gas wasn't coming in properly," says Farida told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service. "A few days ago I baked pies, and the oven wasn't functioning well either. People believe they're receiving less gas due to the cold spell."
Experts say local operators are reducing their gas flow because Russia's state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, is more interested in selling high-priced gas to foreign customers than in supplying Russia's own population.
Meanwhile, experts say Russia has reason to worry about the excess of gas in its system due to the cutoff, which will soon create storage and other problems unless the dispute is resolved.
-- Claire Bigg