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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Governor Grilled on Heating Ends Up in Hospital

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East- A Russian regional governor accused of leaving people without heating in his freezing territory was taken to hospital Wednesday hours before he was due to face the wrath of fellow governors in parliament.

A spokesman for Yevgeny Nazdratenko, governor of the Far Eastern Primorye region, told Reuters his boss was rushed to a clinic with serious heart trouble and there was no word as to how long he would have to stay there.

The spokesman said Nazdratenko, the target of a blistering attack by Moscow for alleged blatant mismanagement of the region's infrastructure, ended up in hospital after suffering a family loss and because he took his people's plight to heart.

Primorye, which borders China and North Korea, was rarely off Russian television screens this winter as temperatures there plunged to minus 50 degrees Celsius and the creaking infrastructure went on the blink.

Pictures showed heavily bundled people under layers of blankets in their homes, with ice on the walls and radiators burst by ice.

Enraged residents protested several time by blocking traffic on major highways and even disrupted the airport in the regional capital Vladivostok.

President Vladimir Putin has called the situation "utterly outrageous" and leading politicians have called on him to use a newly-acquired right to dismiss governors and sack Nazdratenko.

Nazdratenko countered accusations of incompetence by pointing to rising energy prices and Moscow's large debt to his region.

Moscow ordered other territories to send coal to Primorye, and the Federation Council upper house of parliament, which groups representatives of Russia's 89 regions, was due to debate the situation in the Far East and Siberia on Wednesday.

Governors of nearby regions have said that if the government goes on tapping on their scarce energy resources to aid Primorye they too would soon face serious heating problems.

Putin's intervention prompted the government to order extra funds for Primorye and Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the region several times at the head of a government commission set up to tackle the crisis.

Cargo planes have been ferrying radiators and pipes to Primoriye and teams of plumbers and welders from other parts of Russia have been sent to help restore heating.