MOSCOW–Russian authorities said on Saturday 29 people had died from alcohol poisoning this week in a region near Kazakhstan after consuming locally produced spirits that contained methanol.
Investigators probing the production and sale of the illegal spirits said nine people had been detained in connection with the deaths in the Orenburg region, which lies some 900 miles southeast of Moscow.
The Interior Ministry said it had seized liquids containing alcohol from warehouses and stores in the region and found many of them contained methanol, which is toxic.
Earlier on Saturday, the regional health ministry said it had recorded 54 cases of alcohol poisoning this week, about half of which were fatal, RIA news agency reported.
Following a case of mass alcohol poisoning in Siberia in 2016, national authorities ordered tighter controls on the production and sale of beverages, medicines, perfumes, and other liquids containing a high percentage of ethanol.
By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber