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Russia Accuses Ukraine of Poisoning Moscow-Installed Governors

In a startling claim, Russia's defense ministry asserted on Monday that Ukraine had previously poisoned two Moscow-appointed governors of Ukrainian regions, despite both officials still being alive. The accusation, made during an online briefing, adds another layer of tension to the already volatile situation between the two countries.

According to the Russian defense ministry, Kherson governor Vladimir Saldo was poisoned in August 2022, and Luhansk governor Leonid Pasechnik was poisoned in December 2023. Both regions were among the four Ukrainian provinces that Russia declared annexed in September 2022, despite not having full control over any of them.

Reports of Saldo's poisoning had surfaced previously in both Russian and Ukrainian media. However, the Russian-installed authorities in Kherson did not initially confirm the poisoning, merely stating that Saldo had fallen ill. Saldo has since returned to his duties in the Russian-controlled part of the Kherson region.

The circumstances surrounding Saldo's alleged poisoning remain murky, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that his chef might have been involved. On the other hand, details about Pasechnik's purported poisoning are emerging for the first time. The defense ministry claims he was "severely poisoned with phenolic compounds."

Despite these allegations, Pasechnik appeared healthy less than a week after the alleged poisoning, attending a press conference in Moscow on December 11.

The accusation of poisoning comes amidst a backdrop of ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Since Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, there have been numerous attacks targeting Moscow-installed officials, indicating the volatile and dangerous environment in the region.

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