"It will not be easy," Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said during an interview with a Ukrainian network. "I warn you right away that it won't be warm, but we won't freeze."
Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko last week said households will be approximately 2 degrees Celsius (almost 4 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than in previous years and hot water, which already has been turned off for weeks at a time, will be less readily available.
Many people, like cello teacher Anna Goncharova, are trying other ways to keep the cold out. She has replaced her old windows, insulated the walls of her apartment, and bought a pile of blankets.
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"We're hoping we won't freeze," she said. "I truly hope that somehow we'll find an agreement with Russia. ... This can't happen in the civilized world."
Yatsenyuk said in early September that Ukraine had some 16.7 billion cubic meters of gas in storage, but the country will need approximately double that to survive the winter, and without Russian gas it would be left to rely on already minimal supplies from Europe.
Poland, Hungary and some other European countries have been selling gas, originally imported from Russia, back to Ukraine, but Moscow disapproves of the practice. Recently, some of these countries have had to stop supplying Ukraine with gas as they build their own reserves ahead of the winter and amid reports that Russia is tightening controls.
Relying on coal will also be more difficult this year. With much of Ukraine's industrial, coal-mining east ravaged by war with Russian-backed separatists, Kiev has had to resort to imports from countries as far away as South Africa.
The Ukrainian government has said it would cut energy supplies to industry by 30 percent before reducing supplies to the civilian population. That decision would likely send the Ukrainian economy, which could shrink by up to 10 percent this year, spiraling downward even faster.
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The proposed stopgap deal on gas supplies between Ukraine and Russia would last only until early spring, supplying Kiev with a much-needed 5 billion cubic meters in exchange for payments of $3.1 billion by the end of the year.
But Ukrainian officials have protested the proposed price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, and Prodan has said he would stick by his stance that Ukraine should pay only $268.
Despite the risks to its economy and citizens, Kiev is going to continue playing hardball, says Neff, the analyst. Russian state gas company Gazprom took a major hit in profits and reputation when, in 2009, it retaliated against Ukraine by turning off supplies to much of eastern and central Europe during a bitterly cold winter.
If no deal is found with Moscow, Ukraine is likely to siphon off gas from the supplies meant for the EU.
Ukraine has little to lose, Neff says. Russia has already annexed the Crimean Peninsula, separatists control large parts of east Ukraine, and the economy is in free fall. "Ukraine has already lost."