Russia: Alcohol poisoning case leaves 29 dead in a single week after drinking toxic spirits

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Twenty-nine people have died from alcohol poisoning in Russia after drinking locally produced spirits that contained methanol, authorities have said.

Nine people have been arrested, investigators added.

Methanol - the simplest form of alcohol - is toxic. It is used industrially in solvents and pesticides.

The illegal spirits were produced and sold in the Orenburg region, close to Kazakhstan, about 900 miles (1,500km) southeast of Moscow.

Liquids containing alcohol were seized from warehouses in the area, and many were found to contain methanol, the interior ministry said.

Earlier on Saturday, the regional health ministry said it had recorded 54 cases of alcohol poisoning this week, about half of which were fatal, according to the RIA news agency.

There have been tighter national controls in Russia on the sale of beverages, medicines, perfumes and other liquids containing a high percentage of ethanol since a case of mass alcohol poisoning in Siberia in 2016.

Ethanol is another simple alcohol, and the one found in conventional alcoholic drinks.

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