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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Radiation Illnesses Seen in Balkan Troops

The commander of Russia's paratroopers said Saturday that no cases of radiation-caused illnesses have been detected among Russian peacekeeping troops in the Balkans, ITAR-Tass reported.

The report came amid growing concern that NATO's use of ammunition with depleted uranium in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina may be causing cancer.

About 3,000 Russians are part of the international peackeeping contingent in Kosovo and 1,400 are part of the SFOR force in Bosnia.

Paratrooper commander General Georgy Shpak said no cases of radiation-related sickness have been found among those troops, ITAR-Tass said. The brief report did not clarify whether that assessment included troops who had previously served in the Balkans.

In Kosovo, Russian troops are stationed in two sectors where air strikes using depleted-uranium ammunition were not intensive. They also serve in the German-controlled sector in Kosovo's southwest where such strikes were heavy, but Shapk said the Russians are stationed in a rural area of the sector where no strikes were delivered, the report said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma instructed Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk to check on the health of Ukrianian peacekeepers because of the uranium concern, the news agency Interfax reported Saturday. Ukraine has 337 troops in Kosovo, the report said.