Night sales of vodka and other types of strong alcohol are to be banned in Moscow in a bid to tackle the capital's growing alcohol problem.

A new minimum price for spirits is also to be introduced to stop the sale of cut-price black market booze.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is stopping shops selling drink containing more than 15% alcohol between 10pm and 10am.

It will mean Muscovites cannot buy spirits but it will not affect sales of beer and wine.

Sceptics are not sure how the ban, to come into effect on September 1, will be implemented.

A previous ban had prevented the sale of spirits between 11pm and 8am in Moscow.

But it contained a loophole allowing shops to sell alcohol 24 hours a day in agreement with the local authorities.

Earlier this summer Russia implemented a zero tolerance ban on drink-driving after President Dmitry Medvedev said Russians could still not be trusted with drink.

Alcohol abuse kills 500,000 Russians annually and impacts on male life expectancy, which is lower than in impoverished countries such as Bangladesh or Honduras.

"People are not able to look after their health. This needs to be learned," Medvedev said in a television interview in 2009.