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Minsk struggling with record cold days ahead of Orthodox Christmas

Belarusians have felt the breath of the Arctic. January frosts have come to the country. In Minsk, the thermometer dropped to minus 17 but forecasters say this is not the bottom. The situation on the roads is complicated. All road and utility services are working in emergency mode.

Only a couple of days ago there was zero degrees Celsius in the street. But look what is happening now. Piercing wind, snow drifts and icy roads.

Hot tea is a dream in such cold. The Red Cross is working in Mogilev to provide those in need with everything they need in such weather. Volunteers have organized two mobile heating units. Here people can get cookies, measure blood pressure and get advice from a doctor.

Andrei Nikitin, chairman of the Mogilev regional organization of the Belarusian Red Cross Society:
We have lost the habit of severe frosts and extreme heat. But in an extreme situation, we believe we should be where we are needed.

Traffic lights went out of operation in Minsk on January 5. They were replaced by traffic constables. Traffic police in Belarus is now working in emergency mode. At night, traffic police officers will patrol Minsk helping drivers who were caught by the frost.

Sergey Zaranik, head of agitation and propaganda department of Minsk police:
With increasing frost, additional assistance will be provided. Somewhere we will offer warm tea, somewhere give an opportunity to make a phone call if someone's mobile phone dies. The number of patrols will be sufficient, we will oversee the ring road too.

In this weather you are one step from hypothermia. Doctors warn that it is better not to go to the street without mittens and hats. They warn others to protect ears, nose and fingers. For now there have been no reports of casualties.

Vladimir Leshchenko, head of the burns unit of the Minsk City Clinical Hospital of Emergency Medical Care:
In such cold weather it is better to wear boots. There are patients who should not leave the house. These are people who have diabetes.

Forecasters call what is happening today an ultrapolar invasion. This is a rare event in Belarus. The cyclone came to us from the coldest place on Earth. There is nothing more frosty in his world than this cyclone. It will touch even the south of Europe.

Bogdan Kozeruk, national hydrometeocenter:
When cold air masses come, we usually observe decrease in the level of air pollution. If there are no traffic jams on the roads, and it is quite possible, I hope at Christmas we will breathe clean air.

Frost has brought joy to children. A skating rink has finally appeared in Vitebsk. The main square of the northern Belarusian city will soon become a place for winter fun - one of thousands in the country.

On January 6, the thermometer will drop to minus 27 degrees at night.

Minsk struggling with record cold days ahead of Orthodox Christmas