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European Official Visits Ukraine Ahead of New Runoff Vote

Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis meets today with top Ukrainian officials to discuss the new runoff vote, scheduled for December 26. The visit comes as campaigning heats up in the race between Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who returned from Austria late Sunday.

Saturday doctors confirmed Mr. Yushchenko had been poisoned in September, an issue that now threatens to overshadow the campaign.

Mr. Yushchenko has long alleged the government tried to kill him when he suddenly became ill and was rushed to the Austrian clinic. Doctors have now confirmed he was poisoned by dioxin, a toxic chemical that can cause death, as well as adult acne, which has disfigured Mr. Yushchenko's face.

No top officials have commented on the issue, although the government is reported to have agreed to reopen an investigation into what happened.

A spokesman for Mr. Yanukovich rejects the possibility Mr. Yushchenko was poisoned. The prime minister is currently campaigning in his stronghold region in southeastern Ukraine.