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Ukraine should withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from Iraq stage by stage
Ukraine should withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from Iraq stage by stage, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma believes. The presidential press service told RIA Novosti that Mr. Kuchma expressed this opinion when he presented on Tuesday new Defense Minister Alexander Kuzmuk. "I agree with Alexander Kuzmuk that we should withdraw our peacekeepers from Iraq stage by stage, but with time as you understand, not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," Mr. Kuchma said and added that "it should not resemble a flight since when flying you lose everything." According to Mr. Kuchma, the problem of the Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent staying in Iraq requires a special approach. "The new defense minister should pay a great attention to this problem. Especially to the problem of peacekeepers' security," the head of the Ukrainian state stressed. Now, 1,600 Ukrainian peacekeepers are deployed in Vasit province, 120-140 km to southeast of Baghdad, in the zone of the Polish command. Ukraine introduced its peacekeeping contingent to Iraq on August 28, 2003. Over this time 8 Ukrainian peacekeepers died there and 20 were wounded.
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