Yesterday’s comments by Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin on President Victor Yushchenko’s statement that Russia is blocking the investigation into his dioxin poisoning are not the Russian Federation’s official position, Oleksandr Chalyy, deputy head of the presidential secretariat, said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

“The president of Ukraine is convinced that the statement by Viktor Stepanovich [Chernomyrdin] is his subjective point of view. It does not reflect the Russian Federation’s official position at all,” he said and added that the ambassador’s remarks “show his incompetence in the area of sensitive relations” between Ukraine and Russia.

 “His statement was emotional, undiplomatic and inconsistent with the accepted rules of diplomatic ethics.”

Chalyy reminded reporters that President Yushchenko had first raised the issue directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 22, 2006, during the first meeting of the Yushchenko-Putin Commission. After their conversation, Ukraine’s prosecutor general sent a letter to his Russian counterpart with a request to provide Ukrainian investigators with samples of Russian dioxin for analysis and help find Ukrainian citizens involved in the case, he said. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office has since sent such letters to Russia five times, on January 18,  May 16, June 25, July 24 and August 6.

Chalyy also said President Yushchenko had no intention to accuse Russia of refusing to cooperate but wanted to draw the attention of its officials to the subject which is “sensitive for the trust in our bilateral relations.”

Chalyy said the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office had agreed with Russian investigators yesterday that it would soon send a group of experts to Russia. “This means the president made his statement opportunely and it produced a positive effect.”