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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Services Resume as Cold Snap Recedes

Trolleybuses and trams returned to full operation in Moscow on Tuesday as the Arctic cold that has blanketed Russia for the past nine days slowly retreated.

Record electricity consumption, meanwhile, continued to put the country's creaking power system under strain, forcing Anatoly Chubais, the head of electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems, to cancel a trip to Davos, Switzerland.

Moscow temperatures warmed to minus 12 degrees Celsius, allowing electric-powered public transport to operate fully in Moscow. The relative warmth was a major contrast to last Thursday's minus 31 C.

Forecasts say temperatures in Moscow could warm to as high as minus 4 C by the weekend. This winter has been the coldest in the capital since 1978-79, when temperatures reached minus 38 C.

People have been turning to electric radiators and other supplemental heaters to keep warm, driving electricity use to new records.

Chubais said that despite the thaw, many apartments would take a while to heat back up.

He canceled his attendance at the World Economic Forum in Davos because of the continued problems facing UES.

"Across Russia, the situation remains difficult. [On Monday,] we recorded another record for electricity consumption, 150,300 megawatts," he said in televised comments.

"The temperatures are getting better, but there is a rather treacherous effect, ... a gradual dropping of temperatures inside buildings," he said.

In Moscow, rescue workers found one person dead, Itar-Tass quoted the city health department as saying, bringing the number of deaths in Moscow to 28 during the big freeze, which started Jan. 16.

Nineteen people were hospitalized with hypothermia, the department said.

More than 7,000 people in eight towns and villages were without heating on Tuesday because of ruptured hot water pipes, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

In Ukraine, about 60,000 people in the city of Alchevsk were temporarily left without heat early Tuesday following the rupture of hot water pipes.

The Ukrainian Health Ministry said 26 people died of the cold on Monday alone, raising the death toll in Ukraine over the last three days to 80.