A Russian aircraft capable of carrying 50,000 litres of water arrived in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on Monday for its mission to stop fires in the Amazon rainforest.

The Ilyushin IL-76 landed at Viru Viru airport, where Bolivian President Evo Morales and local authorities were waiting for the Russian crew. They were then taken for a press conference with the Russian consul Iakov Fedorov.

"Brother consul, I wish you to convey our tremendous satisfaction for this co-operation; the pilots and technicians have been leaving the family, leaving their homeland, leaving their responsibilities to help us in Bolivia, that is being human," said Morales.

The Russian firefighting aircraft is expected to join forces fighting the blazes alongside the converted Boeing 747 super tanker that the government rented, and teams of firefighters sent by France and neighbouring countries.

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