Russians Face Freezing to Death As They Run Out of Fuel To Heat Homes

Russians in the country's Altai Krai region face freezing to death amid plunging temperatures and a shortage of fuel, according to local media reports.

On Wednesday Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, tweeted a subtitled clip of a Russian state TV news segment that details how people are running out of coal in the Russian town of Kamen-na-Obi.

"While Russian propagandists jeer about 'freezing Europe,' Russians actually are at the brink of freezing—the town Kamen-na-Obi, Altai region, has only several days worth of coal left in stock. It is currently about -11 degrees Celsius [12.2 degrees Farenheit] there," he wrote.

According to the news clip, which was broadcast on December 21 on state-owned television channel Russia-1, a "high alert mode" was declared in the town because of a shortage of coal.

The decision was made at a meeting of the regional commission for emergency situations and allows local officials to purchase coal without having to go through an auction.

Ivan Panchenko, the head of the region, said it had subsequently purchased enough coal to last for eight to 10 days, depending on weather conditions, according to Russia-1.

An investigation has been launched by local law enforcement agencies into the cause of the coal shortage, while a local prosecutor said criminal proceedings may be initiated should authorities find the law has been violated.

According to local news outlet Bankfax, it is believed that the town's fuel could run out at any moment. Panchenko also said that it was impossible to rectify the situation without the support of the local Altai government.

Police officers guard the snow-covered Red Square
Police officers are seen in Moscow's Red Square during a snowstorm on April 2, 2022. People in Russia's Altai Krai region face freezing to death amid plunging temperatures and a shortage of fuel. Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued multiple warnings to the West over energy sanctions imposed in response to his decision to invade Ukraine on February 24.

"We will not supply anything at all if it is contrary to our interests," Putin said in September. "No gas, no oil, no coal, no fuel oil, nothing."

Prior to the war, Russia supplied the European Union with 40 percent of its gas imports—that figure is now down to some 9 percent.

In Ukraine, Russian troops are complaining about a lack of equipment amid colder weather conditions.

In a video appeal earlier in December, a Russian regiment asked for more equipment and medical supplies. The commander of a group of mobilized soldiers from Russia's Kemerovo Oblast directed the appeal to the region's governor, Sergei Tsivilyov, saying that the men arrived nearly "naked."

"No thermal underwear, the boys are freezing," a unit commander said.

Newsweek has reached out to Russia's Foreign Ministry for comment.

Do you have a tip on a world news story that Newsweek should be covering? Do you have a question about the Russia-Ukraine war? Let us know via worldnews@newsweek.com.