WHO warns of ‘life-threatening’ winter in Ukraine

Putin knows 'if he leaves Russia there's possibility he won't return'

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This winter will be “life-threatening” for millions of people in Ukraine, the World Heath Organisation (WHO) has warned. The body also warned of the risk of viral infections, which, alongside other challenges, will make this winter “a formidable test”.

Kyiv today reported that civilians were having to be evacuated from recently-recaptured areas in southern Kherson, as well as from the Mykolaiv region, due to damage to infrastructure and the lack of heat and power.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk advised people to move to safer areas, particularly in the central and western parts of the country.

She added that “transportation, accommodation [and] medical care” will be provided by the Government.

Whitehall earlier this month described infrastructure hits as “desperate measures”.

A Foreign Office official said: “Unable to defeat the courage of the Ukrainian army, Putin has turned his attention to defenceless Ukrainian civilians, destroying the electricity that keeps their lights on, or the heating that keeps them warm.”

Rishi Sunak was soon after pictured arriving in a snowy Kyiv in his first visit as Prime Minister.

Here, the Prime Minister pledged a further £50million in aid to Ukraine and insisted that “since the first days of the war, Ukraine and the UK have been the strongest of allies”.

On the coming winter, Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, today warned: “Cold weather can kill.

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“Temperatures are predicted to plummet as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.

“As desperate families try to stay warm, many will be forced to turn to alternative heating methods, like burning charcoal or wood, or using generators fuelled by diesel, or electric heaters.

“These bring health risks, including exposure to toxic substances that are harmful for children, older people and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, as well as accidental burns and injuries.

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“We expect two-three million more people to leave their homes in search of warmth and safety.”

A tough winter could, however, also set Russia back on the battlefield.

In January this year, ahead of the Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” announcement, US President Joe Biden recruited weather experts to predict when such an invasion could take place given that conditions at the beginning of the year were not ideal for such a move.

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