Doctor: Yushchenko in 'Very Good' Health

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yushchenko is in "very good" health despite the dioxin poisoning last year that left him badly disfigured, his Swiss doctor said Monday.

The dioxin is now leaving Yushchenko's system through this skin, which has resulted in his face being pockmarked and discolored, said Dr. Jean Saurat of the University Hospital of Geneva.

President Viktor Yushchenko

"His external appearance doesn't reflect on the health of his internal organs," Saurat said.

Yushchenko fell ill last fall during the hotly contested presidential election and was later diagnosed as having suffered massive dioxin poisoning. He said the symptoms began appearing after a dinner with the heads of the security service and has called the poisoning an assassination attempt.

Security Service officials who attended the dinner have denied all allegations of involvement.

Saurat said there was no doubt that Yushchenko suffered a dioxin poisoning, but said that so far they could only pinpoint within weeks when the dose was administered.

Saurat and his colleague, biochemist Olier Sorg, started treating Yushchenko in December and the Ukrainian leader has made three visits to see them, said Yushchenko's spokeswoman, Irina Gerashchenko. The two have also come to Ukraine three times, she said, adding that Yushchenko is paying personally for the treatment.

Saurat said that the treatment was aimed at getting the dioxin out of Yushchenko's system as quickly as possible, but he said the process "goes on for years."

There was no indication that Yushchenko had been administered the poison more than once, he said.

Saurat and another colleague were in Ukraine to give Yushchenko a checkup before he made his annual climb up Ukraine's highest peak, Hoverla Mountain. Yushchenko completed the climb Saturday without any problems, his doctors said.

Source: AP World News