Russia cancels evacuation flight to Libya

Russia will not send a plane to Libya on March 26 to evacuate a group of its citizens, including diplomats, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“In view of the tense situation in Libya, a decision was made to refrain from sending a Russian Emergencies Ministry plane to Tripoli, which was planned for March 26,” the ministry said in a statement.

The original plan was to evacuate a number of Russian Embassy employees, as well as a group of Russians and nationals of several other countries who want to leave, the statement said.

The ministry is studying other ways to evacuate people from Libya in the next few days, the statement said, adding that there have been no reports of Russians injured in international coalition airstrikes on Libya.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Emergencies Ministry on Thursday to assure that all necessary measures are taken to assure the safe evacuation of Russians from Libya. Emergencies Ministry planes have already evacuated more than 330 people.

The UN Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, also permitting “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on rebel-held towns.

The operation to enforce the no-fly zone, codenamed Odyssey Dawn, is being conducted jointly by 13 states, including the United States, Britain and France.

Western warplanes have flown more than 300 sorties over the North African country and fired 162 Tomahawk missiles in the UN-mandated mission. Libyan state media outlets have reported that dozens of people have been killed by the airstrikes.

MOSCOW, March 25 (RIA Novosti)

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