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  Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Ukraine started Wednesday the 11th rotation of its peacekeepers in Kosovo,
Ukraine started Wednesday the 11th rotation of its peacekeepers in Kosovo, who serve in a joint Polish-Ukrainian battalion as part of the UN mission, the Defense Ministry said.

Ukrainian peacekeeping units have been carrying out their mission in Kosovo since September 1, 1999. The Ukrainian servicemen from UkrPolBat of the NATO-led KFOR East multinational tactical group conduct regular rotations every year.

A McDonnell Douglas-82 plane with 99 peacekeepers on board flew Wednesday morning from Boryspil airport in Kiev to Pristina, the ministry said. Later in the day, 80 peacekeepers will return to Kiev.

During the second stage of the rotation, which is scheduled for October 10, another 78 peacekeepers from the UkrPolBat will be transported to Kosovo and 97 servicemen will return to Ukraine.

A total of 180 Ukrainian peacekeepers will be replaced in the 11th rotation.

The Ukrainian soldiers man observation posts, regulate population movement, escort children to school, guard churches and schools, escort convoys of ethnic Serbs through areas populated by ethnic Albanians, and prevent illegal transportation of weapons, explosives, and narcotics, according to the Defense Ministry.

Ukraine has also contributed 150 policemen to the UNMIK police force in Kosovo, one of whom was killed and more than 20 wounded during clashes in the Serb-dominated area of Mitrovica on March 17, when UN police and KFOR troops launched an operation to regain control of a UN court building seized by ethnic Serbs.

The Mitrovica incident prompted the Ukrainian opposition to demand the defense minister's resignation and that Ukraine withdraw its peacekeepers from Kosovo.


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