Iraq

Ukraine withdraws last troops in Iraq

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KIEV, Dec 20, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that it had started to withdraw its remaining 876 troops from Iraq.

The Ukraine's Defense Ministry spokesman Viktor Vasyuk said the remaining troops were all due home by Dec. 30. with the first batch of 120 due to withdraw to a western Ukraine military base later on Tuesday.

The Ukraine's Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko said on Nov. 10 that the country would pull out all of its peacekeeping troops from Iraq before Dec. 30, and added that the United States would provide 3 million U.S. dollars for the withdrawal plan.

At one point, the Ukraine had a 1,650-strong contingent in Iraq, making it the sixth-largest foreign element in the US-led coalition force. It began withdrawing troops in March.

So far, 18 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 33 others wounded in Iraq.