MOSCOW, July 26 (RIA Novosti) – An investigation has confirmed that a United Nations Mi-8 helicopter with four Russian crewmembers was brought down last December in South Sudan by surface-to-air artillery fire, Russia’s Investigative Committee said Friday.
The helicopter was shot down while taking off near the village of Likuangole. All four crewmembers died. The UN said previously that the helicopter had been shot down by the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the army of South Sudan.
South Sudan’s ambassador to Moscow, Shol Dang Alak, has said that north Sudanese aircraft with UN markings have repeatedly intruded into different parts of South Sudan, which could have led to the downing of the Russian helicopter by mistake.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged South Sudanese authorities to carry out a complete investigation into the incident, punish those guilty and ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.
A criminal case has been opened on several charges, including murder, willful destruction of property and attacking internationally protected individuals, Russia’s Investigative Committee said Friday, adding that the investigation was ongoing.