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Ukraine announces Iraq pull-out
January 10, 2005

At least 13 Ukrainians have now died serving in Iraq

Ukraine's outgoing President Leonid Kuchma has ordered a withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Iraq.

He said his government should draw up plans to withdraw the 1,600-strong contingent in the first half of 2005.

The decision follows an incident in which eight Ukrainian and one Kazakh servicemen were killed while defusing a bomb in Iraq.

The Ukrainian troops are under the command of the Polish contingent, which is also likely to withdraw.

At least six Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in Iraq before the latest deaths.

The withdrawal issue has been high on the agenda of the opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who won the bitterly contested presidential election and is now preparing for his swearing-in.

The recent incident in Iraq was the worst in the history of Ukraine's participation in international peacekeeping missions.

Poland, which has the third-largest contingent in Iraq after the US and Britain, says it is likely to withdraw from Iraq in 2005, but no specific date has been given.


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