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Russian aid planes for Kyrgyz refugees take off for Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan Materials 19 June 2010 03:44
Two Russian emergencies ministry planes with aid for people displaced during ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan took off from an airport near Moscow on Saturday, a ministry spokesman said, RIA Novosti reported.
Russian aid planes for Kyrgyz refugees take off for Uzbekistan

Two Russian emergencies ministry planes with aid for people displaced during ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan took off from an airport near Moscow on Saturday, a ministry spokesman said, RIA Novosti reported.

The planes are now en route to Uzbekistan, where 100,000 people fled after deadly ethnic clashes in south Kyrgyzstan. Thousands more are waiting on the Kyrgyz side of the border.

"An emergencies ministry plane took off from the Ramenskoe airfield at 1:40 Moscow time [21:40 GMT]. It has food, tents, blankets and utensils onboard," the source said.

The second plane took off at 2:30 Moscow time (22:30 GMT), the source added.

Violent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek groups in southern Kyrgyzstan broke out in the city of Osh on June 11 and then spread to the neighboring Jalalabad region, leaving nearly 200 dead and more than 2,000 injured according to official figures. Kyrgyz leaders admit that the real death toll could be 10 times higher.

According to the World Health Organization's statistics, clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan left up to one million people affected.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov had earlier warned the UN Secretary General that the country was unable to provide refugees with accommodation and food for more than four days.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday gave instructions to help Uzbekistan accept refugees from Kyrgyzstan.

Russian Emergencies Ministry said it was sending some 120 tons of humanitarian aid on board three Il-76 transport planes. The cargo comprises tinned meat, fish, infant food, sugar, tents, blankets and utensils.

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