Laos, Russia Unveil Monument to Soviet Pilots Downed in Laos

Soviet Union pilot memorial in Laos.

Laos’ Ministry of Public Security and the Embassy of Russia to Laos have unveiled a memorial in remembrance of Soviet military pilots who died while serving in Southeast Asia.

A ceremony to open the memorial in Xieng Khouang Province was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of National Defense, General Chansamone Chanyalath, and Russian Ambassador to Laos Vladimir Kalinin, as well as relevant officials from both Laos and Russia.

General Chansamone said that the memorial was established to show gratitude for assistance from the Soviet Union during wartime years, and as a symbol of friendship and respect from the Lao government to Russian government, and the pilots of the former Soviet Union.

Russian Ambassador to Laos, Vladimir Kalinin, cited the new memorial as evidence that relations between the two countries have remained stable over the years, saying that Laos and Russia are committed to maintaining peace and security in the region.

Soviet pilots flew about 20,000 combat missions and hauled over 2,000 tons of goods in Laos between 1960 and 1973 during the Indochina War. More than 30 Soviet pilots and military personnel were killed while conducting combat missions, according to the Russkiy Mir Foundation.
In keeping with close ties, Laos and Russia commenced joint military exercises known as “Laros” last month with participation from the tank and motorized rifle units of the two countries.