At least 221 people have died during a cold snap in which temperatures have plummeted to -30C and below across eastern Europe, with Ukraine the hardest hit
country. The week-long cold snap,
eastern Europe's worst in decades, is causing power cuts, frozen water pipes
and the widespread closure of schools, nurseries, airports and bus routes.
An energy crisis is looming as
Russian gas supplies to some states dwindle by up to 30%. On Thursday the Russian gas
export monopoly Gazprom said it was sending as much gas as it could spare to
Europe, and that Ukraine, whose pipelines carry Russian gas to the EU, must be
taking more than its contracted share. Kiev has flatly denied doing so.
The European commission put
its gas co-ordination committee on alert, but said it was not yet an emergency. The cold spell has killed 24 people in Romania, 17 in
Poland, 11 in the Czech Republic, at least two in Slovakia and one each in
France and Germany. In Russia, officials said more than 64 people died of
hypothermia in January.
More information here...