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MOSCOW, December 28 (Itar-Tass) — South Sudanese Ambassador in Moscow Chol Deng Alak affirmed that the UN Mission did not inform the South Sudanese authorities about the flight of the Russian helicopter, which was downed by the rebels. The ambassador has made a statement to this effect at a press conference on Friday.
“The manoeuvres of the troops and aircraft should be made at the preliminary request with the authorities and the army of South Sudan,” the diplomat said. “To make a flight, the data about the itinerary, the mission of the flight and its cargo should be submitted in the People’s Army of Liberation of South Sudan. Unfortunately, the UN Mission did not fulfil these procedures,” he said. The ambassador noted that the cases of the illegal operation of the rebels by the airplanes, which were painted white with the UN symbols for weapon supplies, became more frequent in the region recently.
He offered the deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the killed Russian pilots. “Russia is our friend, though our friendship is not seen from the first sight,” Chol Deng Alak noted.
The helicopter Mi-8 with the Russian crew was hit down on December 21 near the settlement Likuangole (state Jonglei) in the Republic of South Sudan after the gunfire from the ground. The helicopter belonged to the Nizhnevartovskavia air company and worked under the contract with the UN Mission in South Sudan.