Russian Pilot Bodies in S.Sudan to be Evacuated Soon

MOSCOW, December 25 (RIA Novosti) – The bodies of four Russian crewmembers of a UN Mi-8 helicopter shot down in South Sudan last week will be sent to Moscow soon, a Russian embassy official in Uganda said on Tuesday.

Consular department head Andrei Fyodorovykh said the paperwork was being finalized and the bodies would be sent home either tonight or tomorrow.

The embassy “is doing all it can to complete the preparations” and repatriate the bodies as soon as possible, he added.

The helicopter was shot down Friday on a reconnaissance flight over the state of Jonglei in eastern South Sudan, the UN said in a statement. All four Russian crew members on board were killed. South Sudan’s army has apologized for the downing, saying soldiers mistook the helicopter for an aircraft carrying arms to rebel forces, Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the military, said earlier on Saturday.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established in July 2011 when South Sudan gained its independence, becoming the newest country in the world, because the UN Security Council concluded that the situation there could pose risks to international security.

The Russian-built Mi-8 helicopter belonged to a Russian company, Nizhnevartovskavia.


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