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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to provide state funds to ensure a smooth heating season, including the introduction of regulated prices for fuel oil supplied for household heating in some regions, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

Russia has been tackling shortages and high fuel prices in recent month. Fuel oil is in high demand for the Arctic and other regions, which are facing a severe winter.

The document, published on the Kremlin web site, said the government will provide funds for Murmansk and other Arctic regions to prepare for the heating season of 2023/2024, and for “the introduction of price regulation for fuel oil supplied for the heating season”.

Despite being one of the world’s top oil producers, Russia has suffered high domestic prices and shortages of gasoline and diesel in recent months as high export prices made it advantageous for refiners to sell their products abroad.

Russia on Sept. 21 introduced a ban on fuel exports to fight high gasoline and diesel prices as well as fuel shortages during harvesting season. There is no time frame for the restrictions to be lifted.

Since the ban was introduced, wholesale diesel prices on the local exchange have fallen by 21%, while gasoline prices are down 10%.

That has not yet translated into the same scale of retail prices decline, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Putin’s point man on the oil business, has said that the ban has started to yield positive results.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said on Thursday that it had sent instructions to oil companies ordering them to cut oil products prices.

“In the absence of measures taken by organizations, FAS will consider them as signs of a violation of antimonopoly legislation,” it said in a statement.

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