The first group of Russian paratroopers in 200 persons left by Il-76 plane on Friday the Dyagilevo airdrome in the Ryazan region for the Slatina airdrome in Kosovo. According to first deputy Russian Airborne Forces Commander, lieutenant-general Nikolay Staskov, the paratroopers' airlift is fulfilled within the framework of a planned rotation of the Russian Peacekeeping Force personnel for Kosovo. It is planned that 1,200 servicemen will be airlifted to this Serbian province by five Il-76 flights until April 30. Many of the servicemen took part in warfare in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other hot spots, and have state awards. Approximately the same number of peacekeepers will return to Russia. Presently the number of the Russian Peacekeeping Force for Kosovo totals about 3,200 people. Russian peacekeepers fulfil tasks in the responsibility areas of correspondingly German, American and French multinational brigades. Besides, units of Russian peacekeepers serve at the Slatina airdrome and at the military hospital in Kosovo Polje.
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