Russia is to equip its Il-76 military transport planes with firefighting equipment, according to Russian Air Force commander Colonel General Alexander Zelin.

Zelin told RIA Novosti that this would enable an Il-76 aircraft to dump up to 40t of water on a fire from the air.

The commander said the aircraft would play a key role in the simultaneous dumping of about 300t of water during critical firefighting situations.

Russia took this decision after the country was criticised for its ability to respond adequately to the fires in central Russia, caused by an abnormal rise in temperature.