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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soviet MIA Still Living?

Six Soviet military experts who disappeared in Ethiopia in the late 1970s were probably captured by Western Somali militants, and at least one may still be alive after 15 years in captivity, the cochairman of a commission investigating the fates of missing soldiers said Wednesday.

Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Udalov may have been seized by the Western Somalia Liberation Front and could still be alive, General Dmitly Volkogonov told a press conference of the U. S. -Russian Joint Commission on POW-MIAs.

Former U. S. Ambassador Malcolm Toon, who co-chairs the commission, said that investigators had received evidence that led them to suspect Korean War pilots may have been transferred to the Soviet Union.

"We now know that U. S. prisoners of war were interrogated by Soviet soldiers in North Korea and China", he said.

The U. S. side had also received confirmation of a Soviet program during the Korean War to bring down the state-of-the-art F-86 fighter planes for study in the Soviet Union, Toon said.

Toon said that the joint commission would now focus on the fates of 10 U. S. spy planes shot down between 1950 and 1965.

On Tuesday, a U. S. Naval Academy ring belonging to one of 95 men missing from those planes was handed over to the U. S. side. It had belonged to Captain John Dunham, who was aboard a bomber that had been shot down on Oct. 7, 1952, over the Kuril Islands.

Volkogonov played down reports from an Interior Ministry colonel that he had sighted U. S. Marine Philip Mandra at a camp in Magadan in 1962.

"You have to have a phenomenal visual memory to remember a person you saw only once 30 years ago", Volkogonov said. "Moreover, we have established that there has never been such a detention center in Magadan".

Retired Army Colonel Vladimir Malinin had identified the marine from photographs provided by the U. S. Embassy after he responded to a newspaper advertisement seeking information on missing soldiers.