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Ukrainian Battalion "Surrenders" to Iraq - 1 April, 2003

Several Ukrainian news agencies released information today (attributing it to CNN) that a dislocated Ukrainian radiochemical and biological defense battalion in Kuwait had crossed the border into Iraq last night and surrendered to representatives of Saddam Hussein. Ukrainian soldiers and officers apparently said 'they could no longer bear to witness the systematic destruction of Iraqi civilians by US forces.'

This April Fool's joke caused a sensation in Ukraine. Hundreds of journalists literally bombarded the press office of the Defense and Foreign Ministries as well as the Ukrainian government, trying to obtain details about the incident. US military leaders were also asking similar questions. As a Rosbalt correspondent was told at coalition headquarters in Qatar, this information is 'simply a joke.' The Ukrainian battalion is still serving in Kuwait and Ukrainian soldiers have no intention of desertion.