Iraq crisis forces US to cancel agreement with Arkhangelsk military pilots

The US government has cancelled an agreement with the 2nd Arkhangelsk United Air Squadron as a result of US operations in Iraq. This was announced to Rosbalt yesterday by First Deputy of the Squadron Mikhail Kabrinsky.

The US' decision to stop financing the agreement means that 10 members of the squadron and two Mi-8 MTV helicopters have had to return from Sierra Leone where they were carrying out a humanitarian mission on behalf of the US government. However, the squadron's leadership is hopeful that the mission will be resumed as in the West Arkhangelsk aviators and aircraft are regarded as some of the best for carrying out such operations.

The agreement between the US and the squadron was reached in 1996. It was broken off for three months in 2000 but the US then continued financing the agreement.

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