In 2005 Russian Airplanes to Partake in Fire Fighting in Italy and Mediterranean

In 2005 Russian Airplanesto Partake in Fire Fighting in Italy and Mediterranean

22December 2004

published by: Russian News andInformation Agency Novosti

MOSCOW, December 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Be-200 planes will, in case ofneed, take part in extinguishing forest fires in Italy and the Mediterranean inthe summer of 2005. The agreement was reached at a meeting on Wednesday betweenRussian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu and Guido Bertolaso,director of the civil defense department under the Italian Council of Ministers.

“In 2005 two Be-200’s will do fire-fighting in Italy and theMediterranean. Everything is ready: Italian pilots have been trained and a basecreated for the planes,” Mr. Shoigu told reporters after the meeting.

He hopes that cooperation will be “the initial project for promotingBe-200 planes to the European market.”

He also said that they discussed the project of creating a European centerfor combating air crashes and setting up a European plane and helicoptersquadron for forest fire fighting in different parts of Europe. Russia is readyto offer its fire-fighting planes Be-200 and heavy helicopters Mi-26 for thepurpose.

In turn, Guido Bertolaso noted that in discussion was also the holding ofjoint operations in emergencies elsewhere in the world.

“We understand the need of setting up more than a country-wide system ofcivil defense. What we want is cooperation at the European level,” Mr.Bertolaso said.

It is crucial as far as nuclear and chemical emergency situations areconcerned, he said.

Next summer two Russian Be-200 (made by the Beriev corporation) airplanes ofthe Emergency Situations Ministry will come to Italy to be based on Sardinia.Croatia has also voiced interest.

Source: Russian News and Information Agency Novosti

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