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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 22:23 GMT
New deaths across frozen Europe
Tram windows in the Belarusian capital Minsk
Belarus has this week seen its lowest temperatures in 100 years
Bitterly cold weather affecting much of Central and Eastern Europe has claimed the lives at least 60 more people.

Hundreds have died in Ukraine, Poland and several other countries during a week of record sub-zero temperatures.

Overnight some 40 people died in Ukraine, raising to 181 the number of deaths blamed on the weather there.

Georgia's president said his country had effectively run out of fuel, while there were reports of cold-weather deaths as far south as Italy.

Ukraine's health ministry reported that 341 people were admitted to hospital overnight, most suffering from exposure, frostbite and hypothermia.

More than 2,000 had been treated since the cold snap began last weekend, officials added.


Meanwhile Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola has been meeting Russian officials in Moscow to discuss gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine.

Women walk on the streets of Kiev, Ukraine

Italian energy company ENI has reported shortfalls in supplies over recent days.

Russia has blamed supply problems on Ukraine, claiming that Kiev has diverted gas from Europe as it experiences its worst winter for years.

The issue has been compounded by a row between the two countries over the price Moscow charges for fuel.

The cold snap has also exacerbated tensions between Russia and Georgia.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili left the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, to fly back to his country - which is experiencing power shortages it blames on Moscow.

Bad weather has damaged power lines while explosions on the main pipeline from Russia last weekend disrupted gas supplies.

In other develoments:

  • The death toll in Poland climbed to 63, following 10 overnight deaths, the AFP news agency reported.

  • Fatalities were also reported in Croatia and the Czech Republic, although conditions eased slightly in the Baltic states.

  • Romania reported 37 deaths this week as a result of cold weather. Ports on Romania's Black Sea coast, as well as harbours in neighbouring Bulgaria, were closed because of harsh conditions.

  • Road, rail and airline travel were disrupted in Germany and in Italy. In Milan, a young baby was found frozen to death in the home of a nomadic family, AFP reported.

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