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29 Jan, 2008 09:27

Russia and EU unite to fight forest fires

Europe is set to form a united air force to fight forest fires and deliver humanitarian aid. Russia is to become one of the key members of the new body.

“Currently we are working on a document together with the European Union on creating a European Emergency Air-squadron. This document should be finished by March this year. This will be the first step in creating an air unit that will be able to put out fires and carry out multiple humanitarian missions across Europe,” stated Russian Emergency Minister Sergey Shoigu.

In the past year alone, the Russian Emergency services assisted many states in their struggle against devastating wild fires.

Among them were blazes in Greece, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Serbia and Portugal.

Russia was asked for help as it possesses BE-200 firefighter planes, seen as the most effective aircraft in such conditions. Some European countries are currently considering buying the plane.