Yushchenko heads to Swiss clinic

Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos Keystone

Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko, whose face has allegedly been disfigured by poisoning, is attending a Swiss clinic for consultations, according to his office.

This content was published on February 12, 2005 - 10:19

Yushchenko claims he was deliberately given dioxin to force him out of last November’s presidential elections.

The president’s office said that Yushchenko flew to Switzerland for an appointment at a dermatology clinic on Friday, but did not say to which establishment.

It added that the president was being accompanied by chief prosecutor Svyatoslav Piskun to collect medical evidence for an investigation into the poisoning.

The Ukrainian embassy in Switzerland on Friday confirmed the visit and said that Yushchenko would be in Geneva, but declined to say which hospital he would be visiting.

The president is due to return to Ukraine on Sunday.

Repeat visit?

This is not the first time that Yushchenko is reported to have visited Switzerland for medical treatment.

During the World Economic Forum in Davos two weeks ago, Yushchenko declined to comment on Swiss media reports that he had been treated at Geneva University Hospital in early January.

The hospital also refused to confirm the reports, citing patient confidentiality.

Yushchenko is alleged to have fallen ill after a dinner with officials from the Ukraine security service.

Tests at a clinic in Austria later found evidence of possible dioxin poisoning. Yushchenko’s office said that Piskun has also been to the Vienna hospital as part of his investigation.

Yushchenko came to power after defeating rival candidate Viktor Yanukovich in a December presidential vote after November’s election was declared invalid.

The decision by Ukraine’s Supreme Court to re-run the vote came after days of mass protest around the country and allegations of fraud.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Ukraine was formerly part of the Soviet Union and gained independence in 1991.
It is sandwiched between Russia and Europe.
The country has a population of 48 million.
78 per cent are Ukrainian and 17 per cent are Russian.

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In brief

Viktor Yushchenko is regarded as a pro-Western liberal reformer.

He beat rival Viktor Yanukovich in a second presidential election on 26 December 2004.

Yanukovich was backed by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, who had been in power since 1994.

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