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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Russia delivers MiG-29 fighter-jets to Sudan

CAIRO — Russian MiG-29 fighter-jets have been delivered to Sudan by way of Belarus.

Sudanese sources said 12 MiG-29s arrived from Belarus to Khartoum in July 2008. The sources said Russia arranged the deal as part of an effort to bolster Sudan's air combat capability.

"These are surplus MiG-29s and would probably be flown by non-Sudanese soldiers, at least in the first stage," a Sudanese source said.

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On July 21, the Sudan Tribune reported that Khartoum received a secret delivery of MiG-29s from an unidentified company in Belarus. The MiGs were said to have been stationed in Sudan's Wadi Seidna air base.

Belarus, in cooperation with Moscow, has become a military supplier to Sudan. In 2006, Khartoum signed a defense cooperation accord with Belarus meant to include training, exchange of expertise and arms sales.

The government in Minsk has denied the report. Russia has denied arms sales to Khartoum, under an international arms embargo.

This marked the second MiG-29 delivery to Khartoum in less than four years. In 2004, Sudan received 12 MiG-29 fighters and an undetermined number of Mi-24 attack helicopters from Moscow.

Sudan has used MiG-29s in the civil war in the western province of Darfour. In May 2008, Darfour rebels shot down a MiG-29 near Khartoum and a Russian pilot was killed.



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