Jonathan Stern has proposed the resumption of Russian gas deliveries to Central and Eastern European countries on humanitarian grounds. You can find his proposal here.
He also makes it clear what the technical problems are at the moment. The Ukrainians have to have gas to repressurise the network and the fuel to run the compressor stations. Gazprom is unwilling to release this gas without immediate payment and without assurances that it will not be used for Ukrainian consumers. Clearly this is where Putin thinks that Ukraine is "stealing" gas. In fact, Gazprom pays a transit fee so that the gas gets moved on its way to Europe.
You would think that proper agreements for operating the network would be included in the transit fee (which is not just a cash payment for opening the taps), and thus not a subject of the current dispute. Yet more arguments for transparent and regulated agreements for gas in Ukrainian.
Recently I was offered a job in the Ukrainian energy regulator working on advising about gas tariffs. Would have been interesting, but in the current climate of weak government, constant gas disputes with Russia and non-transparent energy sector, it seemed like a task for Sisyphus.
Gazprom continues to shoot itself in the foot:
Ukraine imports in 2008 48bcm (billion cubic meters)
Ukraine paid in 2008 $8.6 billion
Increase in gas price demanded by Gazprom $3.4 billion
Ukraine offers from $1 billion to $2.7 billion more
EU imports 130 bcm
EU pays $60 billion
Gazprom's loss in 9 days non-supply $1.1billion
Figures from Wall Street Journal here.
How can anyone pretend this is a commercial dispute? They would have settled long ago if that were the case.