An accused high-ranking security official yesterday denied "any involvement" in the alleged poisoning of opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. The West-leaning Yushchenko, who...

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KIEV, Ukraine — An accused high-ranking security official yesterday denied “any involvement” in the alleged poisoning of opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

The West-leaning Yushchenko, who faces Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych next Sunday in a run-off vote ordered by the Supreme Court because of government fraud in an earlier vote, accused the authorities of poisoning him to push him out of the race.

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Yushchenko said last week 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 an interview with the Stolichnye Novosti newspaper published yesterday, Satsyuk said there were four people at the dinner at his home — himself, Yushchenko, Smeshko and David Zhvanya, a lawmaker and Yushchenko ally. He said Zhvanya organized the meeting.

“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 said.

He said he was ready to meet Yushchenko in public, but Yuriy Pavlenko, a pro-Yushchenko lawmaker, said opposition leaders have been “unable to establish Satsyuk’s whereabouts.”

On Friday, three separate laboratories in the Netherlands and Germany confirmed that Yushchenko was poisoned with pure TCDD, a dioxin. The tests also confirmed that Yushchenko’s blood contained 100,000 units of the poison, the second highest concentration ever recorded.