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

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

There are 67 known victims of surrogate alcohol in the region, 34 of whom have died.Nine people have been arrested, investigators added.

Investigators in the Orenburg region said that seven of the people being treated in hospital were in a bad condition and four of them were on ventilators.

Police seized 2,000 bottles of alcohol on Saturday and said they had identified methanol, which is toxic.

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.

Russians have long had a reputation as some of the world's heaviest drinkers, but consumption has been declining in recent years, falling 43% from 2003 to 2016, according to a report by the World Health Organisation in 2019.