With temperatures dropping between minus five and minus 17, Bulgaria is one of the country’s most affected by Russia’s gas row with Ukraine.
It only has one fuel depot capable of meeting just over a quarter of its needs during 100 or so days and people are freezing. Forced to stay indoors, some are lucky to have the option of using electric heaters to stay warm. But one Sofia resident who has this option feels nothing but anger towards Ukraine and Russian authorities. “We are feeling like hostages of this economic argument. We have nothing in common, but we are suffering from their arguments,” she says. It is not just the reported 45,000 households that are suffering in the wintry weather. Authorities at Sofia’s zoo, the biggest in the Balkans, have been using oil heaters to give comfort to some creatures, more used to tropical climates.