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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Troops to Sierra Leone

MOSCOW -- President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree providing for the deployment of peacekeepers in Sierra Leone, the Kremlin press office said Friday.

The Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, approved Putin's request to send the troops earlier this month. The Russian contingent will provide air cover for UN convoys on the ground, conduct search-and-rescue missions and carry out air patrols and monitoring.

Putin's decree, signed Thursday, directs that up to 115 soldiers and four Mi-24 helicopter gunships be based in Sierra Leone until Aug. 7. Their mission will be extended if the United Nations prolongs the peacekeepers' mandate.