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Gaddafi's nurse back in Ukraine, dodges press

world Updated: Feb 28, 2011 21:36 IST

Reuters
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The personal nurse of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi went shopping in her Ukrainian home town on Monday but refused to speak of her life in Libya, which she fled on Saturday.

But a person who travelled on the same flight back to Kiev said nurse Galyna Kolotnytska was sure Gaddafi would triumph against rebels trying to oust him, and would be ready to return to Tripoli when that happened.

Kolotnytska arrived in Kiev early on Sunday on a Ukrainian defence ministry aircraft with more than 180 other Ukrainians evacuated from Libya, where Gaddafi's forces are trying to fend off the revolt that threatens his grip on power.

Kolotnytska, who media reports say is 38, was described in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in December as one of Gaddafi's closest confidantes who possibly had a romantic relationship with him.

She was greeted by her daughter, Tatiana, when she flew back into Kiev and was driven to her home town of Brovary, a dormitory town about 20 km (12.5 miles) outside the capital.

Kolotnytska, with tied-back blonde hair and wearing Dior sunglasses, a black leather jacket and jeans, emerged from her first floor apartment on Monday to go shopping at a local supermarket.

On her return she told Reuters: "I will not be speaking to you."

A witness on the plane that brought her back, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters Kolotnytska had defended Gaddafi in informal conversation during the flight.

"She said: 'Papa is good, Papa is for ever,'" the source said. The source quoted her as adding: "Gaddafi will win. In a month and a half to two months, we will be going back there."

A cable sent in 2009 from Gene Cretz, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, said that Gaddafi never travelled without Kolotnytska because she alone knew his routine.

He referred in the cable to rumours that Gaddafi and Kolotnytska might be romantically connected.
Though she herself did not speak to the press, her mother Iryna was quoted by Segodnya newspaper as pleading with the press not to continue to "blacken" her reputation by reports of a romantic link with Gaddafi.