Russian authorities say they have launched criminal proceedings into the methanol poisoning deaths of 18 people who drank illegal alcohol in the city of Yekaterinburg during the past week.
The Russian Investigative Committee’s branch for the Sverdlovsk Region confirmed on October 16 that the criminal case is focusing on the sale of alcohol that had been bottled at a city market and did not meet safety standards.
Dmitry Chukreyev, a coordinator of the People's Control project of the ruling United Russia party, told TASS that an "entrepreneur who worked at the Botanichesky Market in Yekaterinburg had been selling bottled alcohol" that was thought to have caused the deaths.
Chukreyev said the victims' deaths have been recorded over several days since October 11.
He said a suspect has been detained by authorities for questioning.
Bootleg alcohol was blamed for the deaths of 29 people in the southern region of Orenburg earlier this month.