Ukraine has begun pulling the last of its troops out of Iraq, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

Ukraine contributed 1,650 troops to the U.S.-led force in Iraq, of which 876 are still in the country serving under Polish command in southern and central Iraq.

All are due home by Dec. 30, with the first batch of 120 due to arrive at a military base in western Ukraine later Tuesday, ministry spokesman Viktor Vasyuk said.

The deployment is deeply unpopular among Ukrainians, and President Viktor Yushchenko began a phased pullout after he took office in January.