Yushchenko was poisoned by soup laced with dioxin

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The Independent Online

Ukraine's opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, was poisoned and the toxin could have been in his soup, Austrian doctors said yesterday.

Ukraine's opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, was poisoned and the toxin could have been in his soup, Austrian doctors said yesterday.

Their verdict, delivered after further tests at a Vienna clinic, confounds the Kiev government explanation that Mr Yushchenko suffered a viral infection or had eaten some poor-quality sushi.

Dr Michael Zimpfer, said: "There is no doubt that Mr Yushchenko's disease has been caused by a case of poisoning by dioxin. We suspect involvement of an external party, but we cannot answer as to who cooked what or who was with him while he ate." Mr Yushchenko is now fully cured from the internal effect of the poison, although the dioxin, which was present in his blood and tissue at a rate 1,000 higher than normal, has left him with a badly pock-marked face.

Doctors say this chloracne will take several years to subside. Tomorrow he is due to return to Kiev to resume campaigning for the rerun of the presidential election, set for 26 December.

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