Russia denies role in warplane deliveries to Sudan

MOSCOW, July 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport denied on Tuesday any involvement in deliveries of Russian jet fighters to Sudan.

A Sudanese opposition newspaper said on Monday that a consignment of Russian fighter jets had been shipped to Sudan from Belarus, in an apparent breach of a UN Security Council resolution banning arms sales to the African state.

"Rosoboronexport has not been directly or indirectly involved in the delivery of MiG-29 fighters to Sudan," company spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko said.

He said Rosoboronexport "complies in good faith with international laws in respect to deliveries of military goods to countries under UN Security Council sanctions."

Sudan Tribune quoted an anonymous source as saying a dozen MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters were shipped in discreetly via a Belarusian company two weeks ago, but could not confirm whether the fighters were actually sold by Belarus or simply came through the country.

If the MIG-29s are used in Darfur, it would be in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1591, which prohibits selling arms to Sudan's government or Darfur rebels for use in the war-ravaged region.

Last year Russia was accused by Amnesty International of supplying arms to Sudan for use in Darfur, but the Russian Foreign Ministry denied the allegation.

A Russian air group in Sudan, comprising 120 personnel and four Mi-8 helicopters, provides transport for UN military observers in Sudan and carries out rescue operations.

The Russian peacekeepers are expected to stay in Sudan for up to six years.

Last May a MIG-29 was shot down by Darfur rebels over the Sudanese twin capital city of Omdurman, and its Russian pilot was killed.