"Viktor Yushchenko wasn't poisoned" - former Ukrainian prosecutor-general

Gennady Vasilyev, former Ukrainian prosecutor-general, has said that neither toxicologists nor other specialists who investigated the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko found any traces of a poison, he said in an interview with the Fakty newspaper.

Vasilyev said that "neither our nor Austrian experts found any confirmation of the fact that a crime involving poisoning was committed against Viktor Andreyevich."

Vasilyev also said that in his view of particular interest is the fact "of carefully concealed intervention by American specialists at the stage when Yushchenko was treated in Vienna." He also announced his intention soon to make an official statement to that effect.

On September 10, 2004, following an examination in the Rudolfinerhaus in Vienna, a panel of highly professional specialists diagnosed Yushchenko as having acute pancreatitis and made several related diagnoses against that background.

On September 17, 2004 Alexander Zinchenko, manager of Yushchenko's election campaign, said at a news briefing that Yushchenko had been poisoned citing the Austrian doctors.

Yushchenko felt the early symptoms of illness as early as September 6.

Vasilyev also said in the interview that he does not consider the murder of the journalist Georgy Gongadze as solved.

"What we are being told about it by members of the investigation team does not fit into the objective circumstances of the case," Vasilyev said, noting that he knew the Gongadze case well.

The ex-prosecutor says that all is not so simple in this case, as "is being suggested by Piskun [prosecutor general], his deputies and at their suggestion by President Viktor Yushchenko, who incidentally promised that in March the case would be turned over to court."

He opined that the case against perpetrators of the crime against Gongadze was not submitted to court "for one reason alone - it is understood that it would crumble down like a house of cards."

On Sunday Ukraine's Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun said speaking live on the First National TV Channel that those accused of murdering the journalist had pleaded guilty. The prosecutor said the crime was committed by police officers.

"Admission of guilt confirms that we are moving in the right director," Piskun said. He pointed out that the killers "could not have undertaken that step by themselves."

As regards those who engineered the killing (such charges were in particular made against the former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma), Piskun said that the investigation did not have enough proof as yet.

Georgy Gongadze disappeared in September 2000, and two months later his body was found in a forest outside Kiev.

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