A woman looks through the window of a minibus taxi covered with hoarfrost, in temperatures around minus 18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit) in Kiev.

Kiev - Cold has killed 37 people in Ukraine so far in December as temperatures reached minus 23 Celsius (-9 Fahrenheit) in parts of the former Soviet republic, the government said.

The Health Ministry said 190 people had sought medical help and 162 had been hospitalised.

Night temperatures are expected to drop to -28C (-18 F) in northern, central and eastern Ukraine this week, weather forecasters say.

The cold snap followed heavy snowfall which left some areas covered with as much as 53cm of snow.

The Emergencies Ministry said this week it was setting up hundreds of heated tents across the country where people could get hot drinks and receive first aid.

Last February, as Ukraine went through its coldest winter in six years, more than 130 people died of cold in the country of 45 million. - Reuters