New tests by the Free University in Amsterdam reveal that Yushchenko’s blood contains around 100,000 units of dioxin per gram of blood fat, 6,000 times the normal level of dioxins and the second-highest dioxin level ever recorded in a human. University Prof. Adam Brouwer:
From a (chemical) fingerprint, at least you can deduce what kind of sources might have been involved. The labs will … try to find out whether it matches any of the batches of dioxins that are around, so that maybe you can trace it back to where it was ordered or where it came from.
Medical officials say that while Yushchenko’s pockmarked appearance will persist, he has likely survived the worst of the poisoning. It is also possible that Yushchenko has ingested dioxin-like PCBs, which have were banned from use in most of the world in electrical transformers and as hydraulic fluid in the 1970s because they are highly toxic and persist in the environment.
Doctors in Vienna, where he has been undergoing treatment, confirm that Yushchenko suffers from dioxin poisoning. They suspect third party involvement. Michael Zimpfer, president of the Rudolfinerhaus Hospital:
If you survive the initial attempt, you can do all right. He is in perfect condition, in perfect mental shape.
Ukraine’s supreme court declares the 2004 presidential election result invalid, citing systemic and massive” violations, and orders a new runoff vote to be conducted by Dec. 26. It says the government of President Leonid Kuchma ‘illegally meddled in the election process’ during the original Nov. 21 ballot. Chief Justice Anatoly Yarema:
The conclusion of the court is that the rules of the electoral law were broken and the exact result of the voters’ will across the territory of Ukraine cannot be ascertained.
A majority of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, supports a motion to declare the election result placing Yanukovych ahead of Yushchenko invalid. The parliamentary vote is not binding and may not influence the outcome of Yushchenko’s upcoming challenge in the Supreme Court. Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn ahead of the vote:
The logical issue to be raised is to declare the election politically invalid because the true will of the people is now impossible to establish.
Yushchenko demands a new election and says the only topic he will discuss in planned face-to-face talks with Yanukovych is a fresh poll. To a gathering of supporters:
We will only hold talks on staging a new vote.
Yushchenko calls for general strikes shutting down factories, schools and transportation to protest the Central Election Commission’s decision to call the 2004 Ukraine presidential election in favor of Yanukovych. Yushchenko addresses supporters in Maidan (Independence) Square rallying under orange banners, the color of his campaign:
[This decision] puts Ukraine on the verge of civil conflict … With this decision, they want to put us on our knees
Putin congratulates Yanukovych on his apparent victory in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election despite the lack of an official result, after the Central Election Commission’s preliminary announcement that with 99% of ballots counted, Yanukovych is ahead of Yushchenko 49%-47%. With the pro-Russian candidate victorious:
We will be able to do a great deal to strengthen the European and international security and build a united and prospering Europe. I value your determination to work together and express deep satisfaction with the constructive contacts that have been established between us. Continuing our active dialogue will definitely contribute to the expansion of bilateral cooperation inthe name of prosperity between the two brotherly nations
The deputy leader of the SBU security forces denies any involvement in the apparent poisoning by dioxin of Yushchenko, which the opposition leader pinpoints as taking place at a dinner at the dacha of SBU chief Ihor Smeshko. Volodymyr Satsyuk:
All food products were on the table on common plates. The food was served by the two people and cooked by another one in the kitchen.
Satsyuk says that he was present at the dinner along with Yushchenko, Smeshko and David Zhvanya, a lawmaker and Yushchenko ally. He says that he is prepared to meet Yushchenko in public to discuss the allegations.
Yushchenko falls ill after a dinner with Igor Smeshko, the head of Ukrainian security service SBU, the successor to the KGB, to discuss how the SBU will act during the upcoming electoral campaign. Also present at the dinner at Smeshko’s dacha is his deputy Volodymyr Stasiuk, reportedly a confidant of outgoing president Leonid Kuchma. His body breaks down over the next few days into an almost total state of collapse with grogginess, chronic abdominal pain, and swelling in his liver, pancreas and intestines. His wife, Kateryna:
I thought there was something different about my husband when he came home that night – because he has never taken any medicine, he’s a very healthy man. And I tasted some medicine on his breath, on his lips. And I asked him about it, he brushed it away, saying there is nothing.