February 13th, 2013
01:50 PM ET

Report: At least 4 killed in Ukraine plane crash

At least four people were dead after a plane made an emergency crash-landing and caught fire in Ukraine's Donetsk region on Wednesday, Russian state-run media outlet RIA Novosti reported.

The charter flight from Odessa to Donetsk was carrying 45 people, 39 of whom were evacuated before the plane caught fire after the crash-landing, Ria Novosti reported, citing a representative of Ukraine's emergencies service. At least two people were unaccounted for.

“The plane missed the landing strip, turned upside down and broke into pieces,” the spokesman said, according to Ria Novosti.

The Donetsk-bound charter flight was carrying soccer fans from Odessa. They were heading to a UEFA Champions League game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund, the Ukrainskaya Pravda website reported.

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Filed under: Air travel • Ukraine
October 28th, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Exit polls: Ruling party claims largest chunk of votes in Ukraine

Ukraine’s ruling party took the largest share of votes in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, according to exit polls, leading all opposition in a contest seen as a test for democracy in the former Soviet republic.

President Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions took 28.1% of the vote in a field of five parties expected to hold seats in parliament, according to Ukraine’s National Exit Poll. The United Opposition coalition, organized by jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her allies, followed with 24.7%. FULL POST

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Filed under: Ukraine • World
February 8th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Most Ukraine cold deaths alcohol-related, minister says

Alcohol has been involved in most of the deaths blamed on the extreme cold in Ukraine, the country worst affected by the icy temperatures gripping eastern Europe, the country's emergencies minister said Wednesday.

Nine out of 10 of the deaths reported have been alcohol-related, the country's Emergency Situations Minister Viktor Baloga said.

At least 135 deaths have been reported in Ukraine in the past two weeks, but he suggested the actual number that can be blamed on the winter weather is somewhat lower, at 112.

Authorities in Ukraine have set up an emergency hospital to deal with people suffering from cold-related conditions, and distributed 3,000 emergency relief tents across the country, they said. The tents are heated, and people with nowhere else to go can get hot food and drinks.

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Filed under: Europe • France • Germany • Romania • Russia • Ukraine • United Kingdom • World
None of us was Gadhafi's lover, one of his nurses says
Moammar Gadhafi got vaccinations and instructions for daily walks -- but no sex -- from his nurses, one of them said.
April 11th, 2011
09:15 PM ET

None of us was Gadhafi's lover, one of his nurses says

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s Ukrainian nurses lived well and traveled with him in style, but none of them ever was his lover, one of them told Newsweek after returning to her home country.

"The only time we ever touched him was to take his blood pressure,” said Oksana Balinskaya, who left Libya for Ukraine in early February, the month Libya’s civil war began, according to Newsweek partner The Daily Beast.

Balinskaya, who said she fled Libya because she was pregnant and believed Gadhafi wouldn’t approve of her Serbian boyfriend, told Newsweek Gadhafi "chose to hire only attractive Ukrainian women, most probably for our looks." She said she and other nurses would ensure the 68-year-old, who she said had the "heart rate and blood pressure of a much younger man," would take daily walks and get vaccinations.


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Filed under: Libya • Ukraine
Gadhafi's nurse back home in Ukraine, shuns media
Galyna Kolotnytska (center) was photographed outside her apartment in Brovary, Ukraine, on Sunday.
February 28th, 2011
11:10 PM ET

Gadhafi's nurse back home in Ukraine, shuns media

A Ukrainian nurse whose employment by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was famously described in a leaked diplomatic cable is trying to avoid the media's glare upon her departure from the North African nation.

Galyna Kolotnytska, who returned to Ukraine over the weekend amid the uprising in Libya, spent Sunday and Monday at her apartment in Brovary, about 15 miles east of Ukraine's capital, Kiev. Footage from Russian TV channels on Monday showed reporters gathered outside, trying but failing to get her to talk to them.

CNN also has attempted to reach her, but her daughter said Kolotnytska is not speaking to reporters.

Kolotnytska gained notoriety in November after WikiLeaks released a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli describing Gadhafi's almost obsessive reliance on her.


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Filed under: Libya • Ukraine • WikiLeaks
Wednesday's intriguing people
December 15th, 2010
01:02 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The former oil tycoon will not learn the verdict of a Russian court for about two more weeks, his attorney says, adding no reason was given for the delay.

Khodorkovsky (pictured above) and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, have been behind bars for seven years on tax evasion convictions.

They are presently charged with embezzling 218 tons of oil from Khodorkovsky’s firm, Yukos, and laundering more than 3 billion rubles (about $98 million), according to Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti. They are scheduled to hear a verdict in their new case December 27.

The men have maintained their innocence in all the charges, and their plight prompted human rights watchdogs to write President Dmitry Medvedev in October, saying the charges and trials “call into question your administration’s commitment to the rule of law and the legitimacy of the proceedings.”

The Khodorkovsky Center describes its billionaire patron as a patriot, energy pioneer, philanthropist and political prisoner and says his imprisonment is a “scar on the Russian political landscape.”

Human rights groups and the center allege Khodorkovsky was targeted for challenging the Kremlin and for his efforts to promote democracy.