“Due to the deterioration of weather conditions [heavysnowfall, blizzards, snow-banks] a state of emergency is declaredin the capital,” the statement by the Kiev State Administrationsaid.The situation in the city is so dire that Ukrainian PresidentViktor Yanukovich has signed a special decree urging all governmentagencies to provide maximum assistance to victims of thesnowstorm.The military is also involved in rescuing the city from itssnowbound condition as 550 servicemen are deployed to the capitalto aid the community services.Besides 253 snow-cleaning vehicles, 13 armored fighting vehiclesare being used to tow stranded cars, with 270 trucks, 540 cars, 83buses and 15 trolleybuses already removed from snow banks.The government has created a crisis center to tackle thesnowfalls, which is being personally overseen by Ukrainian PrimeMinister Nikolay Azarov.“In these difficult conditions, the government calls oneverybody to show orderliness, self-restraint, cooperativeness,humanity and, if possible, to join the clean-up efforts in theaftermath of the bad weather, to help each other in toughsituations,” the government’s statement said.In just one day Kiev saw over 50 centimeters of snowfall – whilethe entire monthly norm is 47 centimeters.Community services are ordered to work around the clock, withpriority given to cleaning the approaches to the Metro stations andsubway stairs, as well entrances to hospitals and grocerystores.Dozens of flights in Kiev’s biggest airport, Boryspil, aredelayed or cancelled, with the city’s second aerial port, Zhuliany,halting operations altogether.Meanwhile, bloggers report that some of the city’s residentsmanaged to find joy in the tempest as some daredevils was seensnowboarding in the streets. The weather conditions remain difficult in other parts ofUkraine as well, which led to electricity shortages in almost 400settlements in the Kiev, Vinnytsia and Poltava Regions. The highway services are fighting with snow 24/7 in the north ofthe country, while the southern regions are suffering from heavyrains.The snow front is moving eastward and is expected to hit Moscow onSaturday evening or Sunday, lasting until almost the end of March.A gale warning is announced in Russia’s capital and the MoscowRegion.The synoptic service say that the current March may become thecoldest in Moscow in the last 33 years as they forecasttemperatures of around minus 9 or 10 degrees Celsius, which isaround nine degrees below average.Heavy snowfalls are already in full swing in Russia’s Tula andLipetsk Regions, with snow-clearing vehicles taking to the streets,while the city of Kursk, the administrative center of Kursk Region,which borders Ukraine, was forced to declare the state ofemergency, like Kiev. Subzero temperatures and snow mixed with rain are causing problemsto residents of continental Europe and the British Isles as well,where the current March became the coldest in 50 years.Russia’s national football team was to play a 2014 World Cupqualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast on Friday. The matchwas initially rescheduled to Saturday, but subsequently canceled,with stadium employees failing to remove the ice crust from thepitch.
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