Who Poisoned The President?

President Viktor Yushchenko has expressed frustration that Russia is not cooperating with the investigation into who poisoned him on the eve of the Orange Revolution.

Mr Yushchenko, who was taken ill just days before the crucial election in 2004, claims that he began to feel unwell after having dinner with Mr Ihor Smeshko, Chief of the State Security Service.

The future president was rushed to a clinic in Austria, where it was discovered that he had 6,000 times the normal amount of dioxin in his system than an average person. Mr Yushchenko spent several days in intensive care and his face was permanently disfigured by the experience.

At the time, Russia openly opposed Yushchenko's party, which had Western backing. President Putin's support lay firmly behind Mr Yanukovych's party, whose stance was more pro-Russian.

When news broke of the poisoning incident, Mr, Yanukovych's supporters suggested that Yushchenko had taken the liberty to poison himself, so as to discredit the opposition.

However, this week, President Yushchenko has revealed that of the three countries in the world that produce dioxin in laboratories, Russia is the only one to have declined to provide a sample. Furthermore, three men who are considered suspect in the affair fled to Russia, and Mr Putin has refused to extradite them ever since.


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