Arrests after 18 people killed by drinking contaminated alcohol in Russia

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Two people have been arrested in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg after 18 people died from drinking contaminated alcohol.

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Russia’s investigative committee determined that the victims had consumed alcohol that contained methanol – a toxic alcohol commonly used for industrial purposes – purchased in Yekaterinburg between October 7 and 14.

Since methanol is colorless and smells similar to ethanol (the alcohol contained in beverages), it can be very different to tell the difference between them. But consuming as little as 10 ml of methanol can cause blindness and 30 ml can prove fatal.


The committee confirmed that several witnesses had already been examined, forensic examination was ordered and the crime scene was searched.

Valery Gorelekh, spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry’s branch for the region, told reporters that officials from the regional Economic Offenses and Anti-Corruption Department had identified and apprehended two suspects – both local residents born in 1978 and 1967.

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He added: “Police officers are probing the suspects’ connections and how long they were involved in illegal business. They are also establishing the exact number of victims.”

A colleague of the prosecutor of the Sverdlovsk region told tas news agency The prosecutor’s office was demanding that local markets be inspected to determine whether any more counterfeit liquor was being sold.

This is the second mass-poisoning incident related to contaminated alcohol in Russia this month. In early October, 34 people died of illicit alcohol consumption in southwest Russia; In this case, the authorities seized 2,000 liquor bottles containing methanol and detained 10 people for their role in the production and sale of illicit liquor.


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