Ukraine Troop Leader Accused of Smuggling

KIEV, Ukraine -- Authorities arrested the former head of Ukraine's peacekeeping troops in Iraq on charges of smuggling, prosecutors said Monday.

The allegations against Maj. Gen. Serhiy Savchenko stemmed from his time as head of the forces, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

Ukrainian Soldiers in Iraq

No one could be reached to comment at the Prosecutor General's Office.

In February, Ukrainian authorities said they had detained several soldiers on leave from Iraq on charges of smuggling $300,000 in cash. Ukrainian media have reported allegations that money intended for operations in Iraq has been illegally diverted, and prosecutors were investigating.

The deployment in Iraq is deeply unpopular among Ukrainians, and President Viktor Yushchenko's new government has begun a phased pullout of the 1,650-person contingent. The withdrawal is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Source: Newsday