The Russian government is set to introduce tougher standards on imported and domestically produced alcoholic beverages, according to local reports.

"The tougher regulations will apply to Russian producers and importers under the new law on the alcohol trade," health minister Mikhail Zurabov was quoted as saying by news agency RIA Novosti yesterday (17 April).

The news comes as repercussions continue over Russia's decision to suspend imports of Moldovan and Georgian wine on March 27 after chief medical officer Gennady Onishchenko suggested the wines failed to meet current health and safety standards.

As many as 35,000 people die in Russia each year from alcohol poisoning and Zurabov said the government was determined to tackle the problem.