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Two Russian expeditions stay in mountains of Pakistan

June 23, 2013, 21:59 UTC+3

Members of the expedition wait for a signal from Pakistani military when they can walk down

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MOSCOW, June 23 (Itar-Tass) - Two Russian expeditions, involving 10 people, are currently in the mountains of Pakistan where terrorists attacked foreign tourists, Climbing Federation CEO Alexei Ovchinnikov told Itar-Tass.

“We maintain contacts with them. During the terrorist attack, they were higher that is why they were not hit. Now the Pakistani army has arrived on the spot by helicopters,” Ovchinnikov said.

Members of the expedition wait for a signal from Pakistani military when they can walk down, he said.

He also said according to preliminary data, there are no Russian citizens among those who were killed by terrorists in the north of Pakistan.

“A Ukrainian climber, who remained alive during the terrorist attack, said by phone no Russian citizens had been killed. Pakistani police can take a citizen of Lithuania, who was killed by militants, for a Russian,” he said.

Three Ukrainian citizens were killed. Among casualties are also the Lithuanian and Georgian citizens. The Ukrainian citizens have been identified - these are Igor Svirgun, Bodavi Kashavi and Dmitry Konyayev.

Ovchinnikov said on June 24, the Climbing Federation would ask the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to help evacuate the participants in the expedition from Pakistan. They involve 50 people and these are not only Russians but also citizens of Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, as well as the bodies of dead people.

“The Climbing Federation of Ukraine intends to address Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to ask for help,” Ovchinnikov added.

He said climbers were shocked over the incident. “Over 30 years we organise expeditions in Pakistan and the Pakistani authorities protected us very seriously,” he added.

Ovchinnikov believes that the terrorist act had been thoroughly prepared. “This is a hard-to-reach area and militants go there to commit a terrorist act to kill foreign tourists. One can reach this reach by one path or by helicopter,” he said.

Earlier, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan took responsibility for the murder of foreign tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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