By Defence Blog
Russia reportedly has deployed two Mi-8AMTSh Hipp military helicopters to the Central African Republic.
On Friday, the heavy-lift An-124 Ruslan (Condor) cargo plane delivered two Russian Mi-8AMTSh Hipp multipurpose helicopters to the Bangui M’poko International Airport in the Central African Republic.
According to Radio Liberty, Russia has already deployed hundreds of troops in the deeply unstable country amid an alleged coup bid ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections.
Russia has also sent an additional 300 military instructors to the Central African Republic (CAR) to deal with what its foreign ministry calls a “sharp degradation of security”, multiple news outlets reported.
Furthermore, earlier this week, observers identified over a dozen Russian military trucks with soldiers and two armoured personnel carriers at Bangui airport.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov rejected claims that Russia was sending troops to the country.
“We are not sending troops, we are complying with all UN resolutions,” Interfax quoted Bogdanov as saying on December 21.
But he noted that Russia has previously sent military instructors to the country.
“So our people are there, naturally,” Bodganov said.
UN peacekeepers slain
Three peacekeepers from Burundi were killed and two others wounded in the Central African Republic in attacks Friday by armed combatants, the spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general said.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attacks in Dekoua, Kemo Prefecture and Bakouma ahead of Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections, according to a statement from spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Attacks against peacekeepers may constitute a war crime, the statement said, calling on authorities in the Central African Republic to investigate the “heinous attacks and swiftly bring perpetrators to justice.”
The UN retook the town of Bambari earlier this week from rebels who had seized it Tuesday.
The government blames the unrest on former President Francois Bozize, who returned from exile a year ago and has been blocked from running in the election. He has been accused of joining up with armed groups in an attempt to stage attacks and a coup. He has denied it.
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