Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's "voluptuous blonde" Ukrainian nurse, made famous by the latest WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables, has defected from Qaddafi as the unrest continues in Libya.
The nurse, Galyna Kolotnytskaya, returned to Kiev on an evacuation flight on Sunday after nine years at Qaddafi’s side, Al-Jazeera reports.
A leaked diplomatic cablefrom 2009 revealed that Qaddafi "relies heavily" on Kolotnytskaya. “Of the rumored staff of four Ukrainian nurses that cater to the leader’s health and well-being ... Qaddafi cannot travel without Kolotnytskaya, as she alone 'knows his routine,' " the cable said.
Qaddafi went to great lengths to ensure her company on a trip to the U.S. in 2009 after Kolotnytskaya's late visa application was approved on the same day as the planned travel. "The Libyan government sent a private jet to ferry her from Libya to Portugal to meet up with the leader during his rest stop," the cable said.
Some embassy contacts claimed that Qaddafi and the 38-year-old Kolotnytskaya have a romantic relationship, the cable said. "While [Qaddafi] did not comment on such rumors, a Ukrainian political officer recently confirmed that the Ukrainian nurses 'travel everywhere with the leader,' " the cable said.
Kolotnytskaya "is being closely guarded by family and friends against prying media. A photographer trying to approach her was manhandled at Kiev airport as she arrived home," the BBC live blog reports.
Soon after the cables detailing Qaddafi’s habits were released, their author, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, was called back to Washington.
Qaddafi is also known for his force of female bodyguards nicknamed the "Amazonian Guard," who are trained to defend the Libyan leader using weapons and martial arts. The bodyguards are virgins handpicked by Qaddafi and are allowed to wear makeup, Western hair styles, and high heels, items not typically acceptable in the Muslim world, according to news reports.
In an interview with a Ukrainian newspaper, Kolotnytskaya's daughter discussed the reported inner circle of Ukrainian nurses who are always at Qaddafi's side. "Other Ukrainian women are also working as his nurses," the daughter said, according to The New York Times. "Mom is one of them. For some reason, he does not trust these matters to the Libyans."