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181 people die of hypothermia in Ukraine in 1 week - ministry

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KIEV, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine has seen 181 people die of hypothermia in the last five days as the country faced average daily temperatures of -25°C, the country's Health Ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said more than 2,000 people had been hospitalized with frostbite and hypothermia.

"Among those who died from the cold were mostly representatives of the asocial strata of the population," the ministry said.

According to weather forecasters, Ukraine has not seen such low temperatures in 80 years.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov said Wednesday that his country had been using more natural gas than usual recently because of the unusually low temperatures.

"We have reached a consumption level of 427 million cu m per day, including 161 million cu m for consumer purposes," Yekhanurov said. "That is 70 million cu m more than previously."

Russian energy giant Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said Ukraine had already exceeded its January gas limit.

"The additional gas that we are supplying via Ukraine for European consumers is not reaching the Ukrainian border [with Europe]," he said.

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