Ukraine Official Denies Role in Yushchenko Poisoning

A top security agency official whose house was pinpointed by Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko (search) as the probable site of his poisoning denied any involvement Saturday in an interview with Kiev's Stolichnye Novosti.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Yushchenko accused the authorities of poisoning him in an attempted "political murder" to push him out of the race, and said he was most likely poisoned at a Sept. 5 dinner with Ukraine's security agency chief Ihor Smeshko and his first deputy, Volodymyr Satsyuk.

In the interview with Stolichnye Novosti (search), Satsyuk — who hosted the meal — denied he had "any involvement in Yushchenko's poisoning."

Satsyuk said there were four people at the dinner at his dacha — himself, Yushchenko, Smeshko and David Zhvanya, a lawmaker and Yushchenko ally. He said that Zhvanya organized the meeting, and that it had been postponed from Sept. 4 because Yushchenko and Zhvanya were busy.

"All food products were on the table on common plates. The food was served by two people and cooked by another one in the kitchen," Satsyuk told Stolichnye Novosti.

He said he was ready to meet Yushchenko in public. A pro-Yushchenko lawmaker said Saturday that opposition leaders have been unable to establish Satsyuk's whereabouts since Wednesday, when Ukraine's parliament speaker told deputies that President Leonid Kuchma (search) had fired Satsyuk.

Zhvanya, reached over the phone by The Associated Press, declined to comment.