KIEV // Muammar Qaddafi was ditched yesterday by yet another ally - the Ukrainian nurse thought to have a close relationship with the leader.
Halyna Kolotnytska, 38, joined government officials, diplomats and pilots who have deserted Colonel Qaddafi after he suppressed anti-government protests.
Ms Kolotnytska arrived in Kiev yesterday on a plane that evacuated 122 Ukrainians and 68 foreign nationals from the country, according to a television station. Ms Kolotnytska could not be reached for comment.
A US diplomatic cable released last year claimed the 68-year-old leader was deeply attached to Ms 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 Col Qaddafi as only she "knows his routine". It even suggested the two may be romantically involved.
The Segodnya daily cited Ms 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. No one picked up the phone at the daughter's apartment outside of Kiev yesterday.
The paper said Ms Kolotnytska moved to Libya nine years ago. "He is employing other Ukrainian women as nurses as well," Tetyana was quoted as saying.