For the homeless of Ukraine, the polar weather is a matter of life and death. There is some relief from the bitter conditions at government shelters.
Ten of those shelters have been set up in the capital Kiev offering hot food and drinks, but they close at 9pm.
For those who scrape a few coppers doing odd-jobs, a big fear is becoming ill.
One woman who refused to be named told euronews her arms quickly become numb when she clears ice and snow for people with an iron bar. “Who will admit us to hospital?” she asks. “It’s better to stay healthy.”
Others have a little more luck. At the charity-run ‘Stephaniya’ shelter in Kiev, the homeless can get hot food, medical treatment and the chance to watch TV. Here they have have abolished the 9pm closing time because of the weather, for the time being at least.
One of the centre’s users, Oleksiy told euronews: “I’ve slept here the last two nights. The management at this centre felt sorry for us and let people spend the night here.”
Our correspondent in Kiev, Evgeniya Rudenko said: “This charity centre is allowing homeless people to spend the nights during the abnormal weather, but it won’t last long, only about ten days. Then the homeless will have to return to their normal life, on the street.”
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