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A military helicopter was shot down on the border of Chechnya and Ingushetia

Press realease

On May 31, 2001, a helicopter of the Federal Border Guard Service of the RF was shot down by Nesterovskaya settlement on the border of Chechnya and Ingushetia. Deputies of the State Duma, Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee for Defence (the Yabloko faction) and Evgeny Zelyenov, member of the Committee, Hero of Russia (Regions of Russia Group) were on board the helicopter. The deputies were returning from a working trip to Chechnya.

The commander of the crew Lieutenant-Colonel Leonid Konstantinov was badly wounded and subsequently died. The navigation officer Vladimir Norov took up command, and despite heavy damage to the helicopter, managed to extract it from the dangerous area and landed it by Nazran. Other members of the crew Captain Sergei Kurochenko and Ensign Dmitri Ignashkov also demonstrated high professionalism and courage.

In Moscow the deputies of the Duma received medical aid: three splinters were removed from Alexei Arbatov’s leg and one from Evgeni Zelyenov. Arbatov plans to leave hospital by June 4 due to work in the State Duma. The doctors reported the state of the patients as satisfactory.

Deputies Arbatov and Zelyenov sent their condolences to the wife and children of Konstantinov.

First Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction Sergei Ivanenko also expressed his condolences to the family of Konstantinov. He stressed that the pilot was a courageous man who implemented his duty to the very end.”

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