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Russia to show air rescue equipment to NATO

MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations will demonstrate its air rescue equipment at a session of NATO's Civil Aviation Planning Committee in Brussels, a ministry spokesman said Thursday.

According to the spokesman, the committee asked the ministry to hold a presentation of the equipment its uses in air rescue operations and emergency situation management, in particular, for dealing with fires.

The spokesman said the ministry wanted to set up a joint European squadron to accomplish a wide range of objectives, in particular, to extinguish forest fires, deliver humanitarian aid and rescuers, and evacuate people from disaster areas.

"We are ready to offer transport Il-76 planes, Mi-8 and Mi-26 firefighting helicopters, and also Be-200 multi-purpose amphibious aircraft, which have been successfully used to extinguish fires," the spokesman said. "For example, Italy uses these planes under leasing agreements to put out local fires."

Germany, France and Italy have already supported the idea of a joint European squadron, the spokesman said.

But he added that the United States was opposing Russian proposals because it was lobbying its own interests.

The Civil Aviation Planning Committee holds sessions under the aegis of the Council of Euro-Atlantic Partnership and is a multilateral structure. The committee session opens on Thursday.

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