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Ukraine Starts Final Withdrawal Of Troops From Iraq

20 December 2005 -- Ukraine began the final withdrawal of its troops from Iraq today.

A Defense Ministry spokesman in Kyiv said Ukraine's remaining 876 soldiers that served under Polish command as a part of the U.S.-led forces in southern and central Iraq are all due home by 30 December. The first batch of 120 troops was scheduled to arrive at a military base in western Ukraine later today.

The government began withdrawing the troops in March, and President Viktor Yushchenko had pledged they would be out of Iraq by year's end. Ukraine had sent 1,650 soldiers with the U.S.-led coalition, making it one of the largest contributors to the force.

Eighteen Ukrainian soldiers died and 32 others were wounded in Iraq.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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