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    RUSSIA * EMERGENCY-MINISTRY * CENTER * ANNIVERSARY

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    MOSCOW, February 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Grigory Dubovitsky) - On Sunday the Russian Emergencies Ministry's Center for high-risk rescue operations, Lider, celebrates its 10th anniversary.

    From the beginning the center has been fulfilling tasks of evacuating population, ensuring safety of humanitarian cargoes in zones of hostilities, conducting rescue works at dangerous sites, in the mountains and under the water, neutralizing explosives.

    Lider's servicemen have evacuated over 5,000 people from the zones of military conflicts and emergencies, ensured protection of 300 aircraft and over 200 car convoys with humanitarian cargoes.

    The center has also carried out a unique operation that involved robots to eliminate the accident in the federal nuclear center Arzamas 16 and have neutralized 37 radioactive sources in Grozny.

    Its experts have repeatedly visited hot spots abroad. They conducted operations in Croatia, Bosnia and Hertzegovina, Kosovo, where they cleared about 500,000 sq m of land from mines and shells and eliminated over 20,000 explosive objects.

    In 2002 Lider's sappers cleared of mines and restored the strategically important mountain pass Salang in Afghanistan, cleared of mines and shells the territory of the Russian Embassy, simultaneously neutralizing about 7,000 pieces of ammunition.

    Lider's rescuers have rendered assistance to victims of earthquakes in Columbia, Turkey, Taiwan, India, Algiers and Iran, evacuated Russian diplomats and CIS citizens from Yemen, Congo, Gabon, Afghanistan, Zaire and Iraq, escorted humanitarian cargoes in Tanzania and former Yugoslavia.

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