Officials said fourteen people had died of alcohol poisoning in Russia on Friday, and investigators had opened a criminal case.
Another eight people were hospitalized in the Orenburg region, which is about 1,500 km. southeast of Moscow in the southern part of the Urals.
“Currently, 22 victims are known, 14 of whom died,” the governor’s telegram reads. Governor Dennis Pasler said regional authorities had begun inspections of alcohol distributors.
“Any alcohol consumption could endanger your life until the test results are obtained,” residents of the Pasler region were warned.
On Friday, the Orenburg office of the Investigative Committee announced the start of five inspections, including the sale of goods that do not meet safety standards. Three people were detained in connection with the deaths.
One of them – a 29-year-old man from the city of Orsk – is suspected of producing surrogate alcohol, according to the investigation. A shop for its production has also been opened.
Homemade spirits and alcohol-containing products are popular throughout the former Soviet Union as a cheap alternative to standard brands, but their consumption also leads to a large number of alcohol-related deaths.
Those who buy them are usually in a difficult social situation.
In 2016, dozens of people died in the Siberian city of Irkutsk after drinking a bath essence containing methanol, a toxic substance used in antifreeze.