Russian authorities say 18 dead in suspected alcohol poisoning in Yekaterinburg

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Investigative Committee said on Saturday that 18 people have died from alcohol poisoning in the city of Yekaterinburg.

The investigators found the victims had drunk liquor containing methanol, a poisonous alcohol usually used for industrial purposes.

"As a result, 18 people died from consuming mentioned liquid," the committee, which looks into major crimes, said in a statement.

The incident follows the opening of an inquiry last week into a suspected mass poisoning linked to illegal alcohol in southwest Russia in which 34 died.

The probe in Yekaterinburg found the victims had bought alcohol between Oct. 7-14 from a group of people, two of whom have been detained, the investigative committee said.

Cases of alcohol-related mass poisoning have shocked the country in the past. In 2016, 77 people died in Siberia from drinking bath oil laced with methylated spirit.

(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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