Friday, June 01, 2007

Another Ukrainian Politician Poisoned?!

Ukraine minister 'poisoned'
01/06/2007 13:30 - (SA)

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Ukraine leader was poisoned

Kiev - Vasyl Tsushko, Ukraine's controversial interior minister, flew to a German hospital by charter aircraft on Friday for treatment for poisoning, according to a close Tsushko associate.

Tatiana Muntian, Tsushko's lawyer and political ally, told Ukraine's Channel 5 television channel Tsushko had suffered "a massive heart attack due to an intentional attempt to murder him by poisoning".

Tsushko in recent weeks had been at the centre of a dramatic spike to tensions in the country's long-running constitutional crisis, by ordering an assault by riot police on a government building to return to office a prosecutor general sacked by President Viktor Yushchenko.

The late May incident was the first-ever case of outright violence between different branches of Ukraine's police forces, as building security guards resisted the assault led by Tsushko.

Yushchenko in retaliation mobilised elements of the army and lorry columns carrying about 3 000 combat troops who were en route to the capital with the mission of kicking Tsushko's men out of the building, when negotiations defused the potentially bloody confrontation.

Tsushko is a long-time supporter of Yushchenko's political opponent, pro-Russia Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

Poisoning 'a rumour'

Unknown assailants using dioxin poisoned Yushchenko in September 2004, leaving him weakened and his face pockmarked. At the time, Yushchenko claimed he had been targeted by a foreign spy agency.

Interior ministry officials confirmed Tsushko had suffered a severe heart attack, but described Muntian's claims poison had caused the health problem "at the present moment on the level of rumour".

Muntian for her part was adamant, saying "I saw him with my own eyes and it was obvious the man had been poisoned".

Oleksander Moroz, Ukraine parliament speaker and another Tsushko ally, told the Interfax news agency "I spoke with him today and his condition is stable. I hope he will return (to Ukraine) in two or three weeks." - Sapa-dpa


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