Gilded gifts for Gaddafi nurses
A Ukrainian nurse who treated Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi on Tuesday dismissed rumours that he had a nurse as a mistress but said the man they call "Papa" gives his staff gold watches every year.
Speaking to Russian mass-circulation newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, nurse Oksana Balinskaya denied a rumour in a WikiLeaks dispatch that Kadhafi had a "voluptuous blonde" nurse as a mistress, named by media as Galyna Kolotnytska. Kolotnytska "had exactly the same duties as the other nurses -- there are five of us -- but was more experienced," working for Gaddafi for eight years and speaking Arabic, her colleague said.
She added that reports of a relationship were untrue. "What they are writing about Galyna Kolotnytska is made-up stories," said Balinskaya.
She posed wearing a watch decorated with a portrait of Gaddafi and said that the Libyan leader gave his staff Italian gold watches every year on the anniversary of his taking power.
"People who work for him 6-8 years have a whole collection," she said.
Gaddafi was a generous boss, personally ordering that the nurses received an allowance when they visited New York so that they could go clothes shopping, she said, calling the leader "Papa," or Father.
Balinskaya said she decided to work as a nurse in Libya but did not know that she was going to work for Gaddafi personally until he came out to greet the new recruits, accompanied by Kolotnytska. The team of five nurses worked in a hospital in Gaddafi's compound that only serves him and his family, she said.
The Libyan leader is in good health, she added. "He takes care of his health and gets an annual check-up. And his blood pressure -- anyone would be lucky to have readings like Kadhafi."
Kolotnytska was evacuated from Libya in February and later went into hiding to escape media attention. She has not given any interviews.
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