Russian authorities have started testing tap water for a potentially harmful substance found in tap water from neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus.
The country’s state water authority (SBU) said on Tuesday it had sent a sample of its water to the US, Canada and the EU to be checked for the substance, which is known to be found in water from Belarus and Ukraine.
Ukrainian and Belarusian authorities said they detected the substance at two wells in the Belarusian town of Odessa.
The SBU said in a statement on Tuesday that tests were also being conducted in Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The SBU is responsible for water quality in Ukraine and other regions of Belarus and the Baltic states, where Moscow annexed Crimea in March last year and has been accused of using a state-sponsored doping program to win medals at international sports events.
Ukrainskiy, a state in western Russia, has been on edge since the annexation, when authorities shut down the main train station and ordered citizens to stay indoors for up to 48 hours.
The region has been under a state of emergency since April.
Russia has denied any wrongdoing and said it is investigating whether the substance is a threat to human health.
The investigation is continuing, SBU chief Alexander Zharin told a news conference.
The substance, known as erythropoietin, was detected at two separate wells in Odessa, the SBU added.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied involvement in doping.
But a Ukrainian official said last month that his country had tested tap water in Odessas two wells and found it contained a substance that has not been detected in tap samples from Ukraine.
erythrophoietins are used in the manufacture of erythroscopic antiperspirants.
In May, the Ukrainian Health Ministry confirmed that erytrosphericant was found in Ukrainian tap water and that the health ministry had sent samples to Russia to be analysed.
Ukrianezh, a Russian news site, quoted a Ukrainian health ministry official as saying that ersatropoietic antiperspray has not yet been found in Odessees water.
The health ministry said it had also sent samples from Odessa to the EU, US and Canada.
In the US state of Wisconsin, which has been the focus of a global doping probe, the state has said it will not test for erystrophoetin for fear of further contamination.
In a statement, Wisconsin state epidemiologist Richard DePinho said the tests were being done to determine whether the substances found in the tap water were related to the Russian government.
“We are taking this matter very seriously and will not be conducting any tests,” he said.