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Ukraine President to Fire Veterinary Chief

President Viktor Yushchenko says he will dismiss Ukraine's chief veterinary official, Petro Verbytsky, for his handling of the bird flu crisis.

President Yushchenko made the announcement Monday as he was visiting an area of the Crimea suddenly hit by the deadly virus. He said the veterinary service had not been prepared for the health crisis.

The president also urged local authorities to consider firing Crimean veterinary service leaders.

Experts are investigating the recent deaths of hundreds of birds. It is not yet known whether they succumbed to the H5N1 strain of the flu, which can be spread to humans.

Also Monday, Russia banned poultry imports from Ukraine.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AP.