Whoever poisoned Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko really wanted him dead. The level of dioxin in his blood was 6000 times greater than the normal amount, the second highest recorded level of dioxin poisoning in a person. Yushchenko is convinced someone from the Ukrainian government is responsible for his poisoning.
Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday that he was sure he was poisoned by the Ukrainian government and believes it most likely happened at a dinner he had with the country’s top security service officials.
Yushchenko’s comments, made in an interview with The Associated Press, were the first time he pinpointed when and where he believed he was poisoned with dioxin. He said it likely happened at a Sept. 5 dinner with the head of the Ukrainian security service, Ihor Smeshko, and his deputy, Volodymyr Satsyuk.
“That was the only place where no one from my team was present and no precautions were taken concerning the food,” he said. “It was a project of political murder, prepared by the authorities.”
Slightly off topic, OpinionJounal has an piece detailing the religious aspect of the Orange Revolution, which is inspired by the candidate himself.
But there is another side to Ukraine’s peaceful revolution. Interspersed with earnest youths, families and grandmothers who braved subzero temperatures at daily rallies for Mr. Yushchenko were nuns bearing orange sashes, proto-deacons and priest-monks.
The scene at Kiev’s Independence Square was part political rally, part rock concert and part fireworks display. But it was also a religious experience. Each day’s protest opened with prayer. On weekends, religious leaders held liturgies and prayer services for Orthodox Christians (whose adherents represent more than 60% of the population), Eastern Rite Catholics (10%), Protestants, evangelicals, Jews and Muslims. (Some 25% of Ukrainians say they are nonreligious.)
Mr. Yushchenko, who typically ends his speeches with “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Ukrainian People, and Glory to the Lord, Our God,” is a devout Orthodox Christian from northeastern Ukraine who regularly takes confession and communion. His faith is reinforced by his American-born wife, Katya Chumachenko, who last week told the Chicago Tribune: “We’re strong believers in God, and we strongly believe that God has a place for each one of us in this world, and that he has put us in this place for a reason.”
The article goes on to draw a parallel between President Bush and Mr. Yushchenko, in the manner in which they both handle personal faith in public. The support Yushchenko has received comes from people of many different religious backgrounds and persuasions. In particular, Yushchenko’s emphasis on ethics and non-corrupt government have resonated with the people of Ukraine. So I guess, “Moral Values” will be a deciding factor in this election as well.
UPDATE: Further tests have confirmed the amount of dioxin in Viktor Yushchenko’s blood, and that it was tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin (TCDD). Ironically, TCDD was used to create Agent Orange.
Also, Captain Ed notes some saber rattling from Yushchenko’s opponent Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.