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In a first, Russian paratroopers land at North Pole
Wednesday April 9, 2014 9:39 AM, IANS

A group of Russian paratroopers of the Airborne Forces landed Tuesday for the first time on a drifting floe near the North Pole, a military spokesman said.

"More than 50 servicemen were airdropped from an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircraft not far from Russia's drifting ice base Barneo (at 89 degrees North) with the use of the Arbalet-2 special-purpose parachute system," Xinhua quoted the airborne troops spokesperson Yevgeny Meshkov as telling reporters.

That parachute system is designed for jumps with a cargo container of up to 50 kg from transport jets moving at a speed of up to 400 km per hour.

Meshkov said the landing went as planned with no injuries or loss of equipment, adding that the participants did not carry any armaments "due to the nature of the mission."

The Barneo Research Station has been set up annually since 2002 by the Russian Geographical Society on an ice floe at a latitude of around 89 degrees north, approximately 110 km from the North Pole. Normally, it opens in early April and operates for about a month.

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