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Russia calls for full probe into shooting down of U.N. helicopter in South Sudan


08:32, December 24, 2012

MOSCOW, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Saturday urged South Sudan to conduct a thorough investigation into the shooting down of a U.N. helicopter in South Sudan, which left all four Russian crew members dead.

"We are calling on the South Sudanese government to conduct a full-scale investigation into the incident, punish those who committed the crimes and implement all measures to avoid such things in the future," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its official website.

Meanwhile, the ministry extended its deep condolences to the families of the victims in the accident.

The United Nations on Friday confirmed that a U.N. peacekeeping mission helicopter was "shot down" in South Sudan, with four Russians aboard killed.

 The MI8 helicopter was shot down on Friday in Jonglei, the largest state in the eastern part of the African country, when it was on reconnaissance flights.

The South Sudanese military had told the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, known as the UNMISS, that it had shot down the helicopter by accident.

U.N. Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Friday strongly condemned the shooting-down and urged the South Sudanese government "to immediately carry out an investigation and bring to account those responsible for this act."

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of a peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. During the same month, the U.N. Security Council established UNMISS to help consolidate peace and security and establish conditions for development.

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