The Russian capital registered the coldest night so far this winter, -23 C (-9 F), the Moscow Weather Service, or SMM, said Sunday, warning that temperatures could drop even more over the next 24 hours.

"Last night was the coldest since winter began," an SMM spokesman told the Interfax news agency.

The low temperatures predominated in all areas near Moscow, with minimums registered between 26.2 and 27.8 C below zero (-15 to -18 F).

Atmospheric pressure remains high, and meteorologists are not ruling out that there could be a drop in temperatures in the coming hours, the SMM said.

The cold wave besetting the entire country, from its western border to the Pacific Ocean, is the most prolonged in the last 75 years for the month of December and has resulted in dozens of deaths.

The lowest temperatures, more than 50 degrees C below zero (-58 F), have been registered in the Chukotka Peninsula and the region of Magadan, in the far eastern part of Russia.

Predictions are that there will be a sharp rise in temperatures about the middle of next week, up to about 2 C (36 F), accompanied by snow in the western - or European - part of the country. EFE