Residents of Moscow and western Russian regions braced for more arctic temperatures Wednesday, as a cold front that has taxed municipal heating systems in Siberia pushed westward. Temperatures in the Russian capital dropped to minus 20 C (minus 4 F) overnight and were forecast to go lower by Friday as utility officials announced evening limitations on electricity supplies for industrial customers. Russian news agencies said at least four people had died of exposure in the past 24 hours in Moscow and another 11 were hospitalized. East of Moscow, forecasters recorded temperatures of minus 29 C (minus 20 F).
Early last month, a cold wave known to Russians as the Epiphany Front pushed temperatures as low as minus 38 C (minus 36.4 F) in Moscow. Nationwide, this winter, the coldest in Moscow since 1978-1979, has severely strained the Russia's crumbling infrastructure. Electricity use has surged to record levels as towns and cities struggle to keep indoor temperatures up and Russians turn to supplemental heating sources including electric radiators to keep warm.
RIA-Novosti, citing emergency officials, said thousands across the country have been left without heat, which in most Russian towns and cities is supplied by a centralized municipal system. Meanwhile, in the distant Far Eastern region of Kolyma, on the other side of the vast country, temperatures were forecast to plunge to minus 60 C (minus 76 F), reports the AP. I.L.
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The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.