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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
The Ukrainian soldiers in Iraq are having to contend with outdated and unsuitable equipment, which may have been responsible for the first Ukrainian fatality, an influential Ukrainian weekly has said. The article points to the instability of their Soviet-designed APCs, which have no air conditioning, and to the unsuitability of black leather boots and heavy body armour in the heat of Iraq. Despite their technical disadvantages, as compared with the Americans and even the Poles, the Ukrainian force is doing a good job, the report concluded, even though it is unclear what the future holds for the operation. The following is an excerpt from the article by Artem Shevchenko, published by the Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper on 4 October under the title "Iraq. One-way ticket"; subheadings have been inserted editorially:
The death in Iraq of Yuriy Koydan, a senior sergeant on contract service and commander of the commandant's department, was the first (and hopefully the last) loss to be suffered by the 5th Mechanized Brigade. One other serviceman was slightly wounded, while the remaining members of the team in the BRDM-2 [armoured reconnaissance vehicle] were unhurt. At the moment, an investigation is trying to establish why the seven-tonne armoured vehicle overturned, with driver error being the main theory.
Noncombat incidents take their toll
In fact, though, the troops are well aware of the instability of …