Kremlin propagandists have long claimed that “General Frost” marshalled his icy forces to help Russia beat back Napoleon and Hitler, and will aid its troops in their invasion of Ukraine. But Vladimir Putin is finding the cold can be a fickle friend.

In the Moscow region in recent days and weeks, Russians have been freezing in their homes.

Some 20,000 people in the cities of Klimovsk, Lyubertsy, and Podolsk, in the Moscow region, have been left without heating for days — some of them for weeks — as temperatures have dropped below -25C last week, Russian Telegram channel Baza reported. Local authorities declared an emergency.