Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia May Pull Peacekeepers out of South Sudan

RIA Novosti

15:00 17/01/2012 MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia may withdraw its helicopters servicing UN peacekeepers in South Sudan amid concerns over the safety of its personnel, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday.

Gatilov was speaking after an upsurge in ethnic violence in the impoverished oil-producing state which caused 60,000 people to flee.

A Sudanese medical officer said the violence, in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, has left more than 2,000 dead.

“We have not been happy about security in the region recently,” Gatilov told reporters in Moscow.

A number of Russian personnel were attacked in November last year, since then the helicopters have been grounded, Gatilov said.

Russia currently has eight helicopters and 120 personnel servicing the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Gatilov said Russia doubted the authorities’ ability to contain violence, as both they and the UN had failed to give assurances about the safety of the Russian task force.

UNMISS was not available for comment.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list