Washington: Veteran Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fears flying over water, prefers staying on the ground floor and almost never travels without his trusted Ukrainian nurse, a "voluptuous blond”, according to US documents released by WikiLeaks.
Gaddafi’s eccentric and unpredictable personality is on full display in a State Department cable, which was posted on the New York Times website, a small sampling of the more than 250,00 documents unveiled by WikiLeaks yesterday despite Washington`s protests.
The cable from September 2009 describes how Gaddafi’s preferences for shorter flights and accommodation on the ground floor created logistical headaches for his staff, and that the Libyan leader never travelled without a certain Ukrainian nurse at his side.
Gaddafi had a team of nurses and "relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a `voluptuous blond`," said a secret cable from the Tripoli embassy dated September 29, 2009.
One source, whose name was blacked out by the Times, tells the US embassy that Gaddafi cannot travel without Kolotnytska, "as she alone `knows his routine`," it said.
"Some embassy contacts have claimed that Gaddafi and the 38 year-old Kolotnytska have a romantic relationship," it said.
"While he did not comment on such rumours, a Ukrainian political officer recently confirmed that the Ukrainian nurses `travel everywhere with the Leader`."
The cable was written after US officials had discussed arrangements for the Libyan leader`s visit to New York last year to address the UN General Assembly.
After the nurse`s travel paperwork was delayed, the Libyan government arranged a private jet to fetch her so she could join Gaddafi and his entourage in Portugal, where the leader spent the night en route to New York, according to the document.
During his visit, his first to the United States, Gaddafi was not allowed to set up his customary tent in Manhattan or to visit the site of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
According to other documents cited by the New York Times which were not posted on the paper`s website, Gaddafi was so angered by his reception in New York that he threatened to break a pledge to return enriched uranium to Russia.