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Ukraine concludes peacekeepers rotation in Kosovo

By RIA Novosti,

Kiev : Ukrainian peacekeepers serving as part of a joint Polish-Ukraine battalion in Kosovo will end their tour of duty Monday and will be replaced by a new rotation, the defense ministry said.

Ukrainian peacekeeping units have been in Kosovo since September 1, 1999. At least 180 Ukrainian troops from UkrPolBat of NATO-led KFOR’s East multinational tactical group conduct regular rotations every year.

“A Boeing-737 plane with 80 peacekeepers on board flew this morning from Boryspil airport in Kiev to Pristina,” the statement said.

The statement said that in the course of the first and second phases of the April 2 and 4 rotation 101 Ukrainian military personnel had arrived in Kosovo, while 83 returned home.

In all, 181 new peacekeepers will be deployed in Kosovo replacing the 180, which made up the tenth Ukrainian rotation.

Over 20 Ukrainian peacekeepers were wounded and one later died in hospital following 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 Ukrainian opposition later demanded the withdrawal of Ukrainian peacekeepers from Kosovo and the defense minister’s resignation over the Mitrovica incident.