Poisoned ex-Ukraine leader warns of Russia's "medieval policy"
The former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko has urged Europe to unite and wake up to Russia's "medieval policy," following the Salisbury poisoning scandal.
Mr Yushchenko, still visibly scarred from facial welts that developed after a poison attack almost killed him in 2004, in a rare interview recalled his own brush with death, according to The National.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Yushchenko said the Kremlin's current policies represented a major threat.
"I would like what we call 'United Europe' to finally realize the biggest challenge for its citizens is the medieval policy that Russia pursues in the 21st century," he said.
"I feel pain for Europe being so blind. That European countries are so unfriendly to each other and have so little solidarity in respect to Russia’s policies."
The poisoning in Britain of former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66 and his daughter Yulia, 33, has been met with global condemnation of Moscow, thought to be responsible.
Read alsoUkraine expels 13 Russian diplomats over Skripal poisoning – PoroshenkoOf the attack on him, Mr Yushchenko recalled the painful effects he experienced ingesting Dioxin, a toxic chemical.
"When I arrived home and kissed my wife the first thing she said was 'your lips taste metallic'," he said.
A subsequent investigation concluded that the poison had been added to rice he ate at a dinner with two Ukrainian security officials.
"On the second or third day, my body started swelling. My head grew in size, dramatically. The pain spread all over the body. And then I started having inflammations and pus forming all over my body."
Read alsoRussian spy poisoning: Skripal friend questioned over request for porridge – mediaThe attack happened while he was running for the Ukrainian presidency against Viktor Yanukovych, the candidate that Russia was backing.
Asked if he believed Vladimir Putin had ordered his poisoning, Mr Yushchenko responded: "I have an answer, but I cannot voice it."
While Mr Yushchenko eventually managed to win the election, Mr Yanukovych would later go on to be elected in 2010, eventually being ousted in Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity of 2014 and fleeing to Russia.