"Voluptuous" Ukrainian nurse abandons Qaddafi

Halyna Kolotnytska, front, leaves an apartment house in Brovary outside Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday Feb. 27, 2011. AP Photo/Segodnya Newspaper, Yuri Kuznetsov

KIEV, Ukraine - Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi on Sunday was ditched by yet another close confidant - the Ukrainian nurse thought to have a close relationship with the leader.

Halyna Kolotnytska, 38, joined senior government officials, diplomats and pilots who have deserted Qaddafi after he brutally suppressed anti-government protests.

Kolotnytska arrived in Kiev in the early hours of Sunday on a plane that evacuated 122 Ukrainians and 68 foreign nationals from the violence-torn North African country, according to Channel 5 footage.

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Kolotnytska could not be reached for comment Sunday.

A U.S. diplomatic cable released late last year claimed the eccentric 68-year-old leader is deeply attached to Kolotnytska, one of four Ukrainian nurses that take care of him.

The cable published by WikiLeaks described her as a "voluptuous blonde" who always travels with Qaddafi as only she "knows his routine". It even suggested the two may be romantically involved.

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The Segodnya daily cited Kolotnytska's daughter Tetyana as saying that her mother was out of danger and planned to return to Ukraine in the near future.

"She spoke in a calm voice, asked us not to worry, said she would be home soon," Tetyana Kolotnytska said of the phone conversation with her mother on Friday, according to the report released Saturday.

No one picked up the phone at the daughter's apartment outside of Kiev on Sunday.

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The paper said Kolotnytska moved to Libya nine years ago. She worked at a hospital before Qaddafi hired her.

"He is employing other Ukrainian women as nurses as well. Mom is one of them," Tetyana was quoted as saying. "For some reason, he doesn't trust Libyan women with that."

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