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Death toll rises from eastern Europe deep freeze

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Death toll rises from eastern Europe deep freeze
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Close to 200 people have now died from a bitter cold snap across Russia and eastern Europe.

In Ukraine, more than 80 lives were claimed and more than 500 people hospitalised after temperatures dropped and stayed at minus 17 celsius.

Record snowfalls have trapped hundreds of vehicles, and the capital Kiev has experienced its worst snow since records began in 1881.

Forecasters expect another three days of similar weather.

Russian medical sources say 56 people have died there in the last week alone. Temperatures as low as minus 47 degrees were recorded in Siberia.

Poland has also seen close to 50 deaths, where officials say most victims were homeless people, who had died of exposure.

To encourage drivers to leave cars at home, authorities in Latvia’s capital Riga are offering free public transport until the worst of the snow clears.

A state of emergency has been declared in 12 Bulgarian municipalities due to heavy snowfall.