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Saturday, November 28, 1998 Published at 13:40 GMT

World: Europe

Winter fuel problems in Russia

Severe winter weather, combined with the economic crisis in Russia, is reported to be causing problems across the country.

Russian Television has reported that in the town of Alapayevsk near Yekaterinburg in the Urals, where the authorities cannot afford to buy gas and heating oil, most apartment blocks are without central heating or cooking gas.

Schools had also closed as temperatures went below forty degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, a nuclear-powered ice-breaker has smashed its way through to the north Siberian port of Pevek which has also been without heating and electricity.

And the newspaper, Segodnia, reports that persistent snowstorms in the Arctic have trapped a four-man international camera team on Vrangelya Island since mid-October.

Snow and cyclones have stopped a helicopter being sent to rescue the team, who were filming polar bears and seals for Japanese Television.

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