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Ukrainian Premier Rejects Rival's Poisoning Claim

16 December 2004 -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych today rejected his rival's claim of having been poisoned by the government.

Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, whose face has been badly disfigured by an illness in recent months, said in an interview earlier today that he is sure he was poisoned by the government. He said the poisoning occurred during a 5 September dinner with the head of the country's security service and his deputy.

Yanukovych said he had no link to any agencies or authorities that could have carried out such an attack.

The Kremlin-baked Yanukovych told The Associated Press news agency he felt sorry for Yushchenko, whom he will face at the polls for the third time in a 26 December repeat vote.

In the interview, Yanukovych also rejected Yushchenko's warning of provocations allegedly being planned by his camp in order to jeopardize the vote.