Ukraine to withdraw its contingent from Iraq shortly
AL-KUWAIT, November 8 - It was officially announced in Baghdad on Monday that Ukraine will withdraw its military contingent from Iraq before the end of the year.
The announcement came at a news conference of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari and Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko.
The Ukrainian defence minister said that in 2003 his country?s parliament reached "not an easy one but correct" decision to send Ukrainian military to Iraq to "serve the cause of peace and security in that country". However, time has come for them to get back home, of which the Iraqi government and the command of the coalition troops were notified timely, he added.
Gritsenko also stressed that Kiev seeks to strengthen and develop relations with Baghdad in different spheres.
A total of 896 Ukrainian military are currently stationed in Iraq. In March 2005 Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a plan for the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Iraq. Seventeen Ukrainian peacekeepers have died in Iraq since the contingent was brought in Iraq in August 2003.