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Three Russians killed after UN peacekeeping helicopter downed in South Sudan

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General, added that one of the crew members survived

August 26. /ITAR-TASS/. UN says Russian nationals killed in helicopter crash in South Sudan.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General confirmed that the three killed helicopter pilots were Russian citizens. He added that the helicopter was chartered from a Russian company.

Earlier, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) issued a statement saying that three crew members died and one survived in a helicopter crash. It has confirmed that three crew members of a Mi-8 helicopter contracted by the UN have died as a result of the helicopter's crash near Bentiu, Unity state Tuesday evening. The survivor has been provided medical aid by a Medics Without Borders team in Bentiu, according to the statement.

UN representative stated earlier in Juba that the helicopter was probably shot down. “Communication with the aircraft was interrupted in the afternoon, when the helicopter apparently was shot down near the city of Bentiu,” he said.

UNMISS has sent a search and rescue team to the site of the Mi-8 crash. There were no reports about the number and nationality of the helicopter’s crew members.

Situation in South Sudan

The city of Bentiu is a cornerstone of the oil interests between supporters of the South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and rebels loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar. August 25, the parties have signed an agreement in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) about ceasefire in order to establish the negotiating process.

Peace negotiations between the fighting parties are underway since the conflict broke out in December 2013, when combat clashes started between representatives of the Dinka tribe loyal to Kiir Mayardit and Machar’s rebels from the Nuer people. The negotiations are constantly interrupted, and the agreements reached are being breached.

July 9, 2011, South Sudan has officially separated from Sudan after a long conflict and declared its independence. After two and a half years, bloodshed started in this youngest state of the world.