At least 30 people have died in the past five days in a cold snap in Ukraine that has brought temperatures down to minus 33 Celsius (minus 27 Fahrenheit), the Emergencies Ministry said Tuesday.

Most of the victims were homeless people, the ministry said. Another 500 people have been treated in hospital for frostbite and other cold-related ailments.

Ukraine has been experiencing its coldest winter in six years. Temperatures in the former Soviet country do not normally sink below minus 15C (5F).

The ministry said 1,600 centres had been set up to provide make-shift accommodation and dispense food and drinks for homeless people.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk/Richard Balmforth; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)