Yushchenko to Reveal Poisons; Ukrainian Says Records Show Assassination Attempt

Article excerpt

Byline: Natalia A. Feduschak, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

KIEV - Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko promised yesterday to release a medical report by Austrian physicians that identifies 100 possible poisons used in a suspected September assassination attempt that left his face horribly disfigured.

"It is not just my belief; it is my growing conviction that what happened to me was an act of political reprisal against a politician in opposition," Mr. Yushchenko told reporters.

"The goal, without doubt, was to kill me," he said at his first press conference since Ukraine's parliament approved a historic reform package on Wednesday that ended nearly three weeks of street protests over falsified presidential balloting.

Mr. Yushchenko, 50, said forensic tests could be made public in the next several days, which would help solve the mystery about what happened to him after he fell ill in September, leaving his face disfigured.

Mr. Yushchenko fell ill on Sept. 6 and was admitted to the Rudolfinerhaus Clinic in Vienna, Austria, four days later with severe abdominal pain and lesions on his face and trunk.

His liver, pancreas and intestines were swollen and his digestive tract covered in ulcers.

Against the advice of physicians, he left the clinic Sept. 16 to continue campaigning, his face half paralyzed and a catheter inserted in his back so that doctors could inject painkillers into his spinal column.

Mr. Yushchenko returned to the clinic in Vienna later yesterday, where he told reporters: "Everything is going well. I plan to live for a very long time. I plan to be very happy. I am gaining better health every day."

His face remains bloated and pocked with lesions.

He told reporters in Kiev that he would release results of investigations "into more than 100 possible poisons."

During the nearly 90-minute meeting with reporters, Mr. Yushchenko said he believed he would win the Dec. 26 runoff with "more than 60 percent" of the vote and would take as many as 20 of Ukraine's 26 regions.

In a historic decision, Ukraine's Supreme Court ruled last week that the Nov. 21 runoff between Mr. Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych, was so fraudulent it did not reflect the will of the people.

Mr. Yanukovych, the pro-government candidate, has taken leave as prime minister. …