Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters flew through Russian-dominated airspace to resupply surrounded fighters in the Azovstal steel plant. Pilots landed in the ruins on a mission which Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky described as “suicidal” last week. The terrifying video captures the moment the aircraft dodges cranes as it flies low to the ground.
Andriy Biletsky, a co-founder of the Azov battalion, has praised the helictoper pilots.
He said: “We can see the maximum professionalism of Ukrainian pilots.
“There’s no resemblance with the Black Hawks, Americans have never entered so deep into enemy-controlled territories, 100km deep into a territory with intense anti-aircraft defence, patrolling airplanes, and so on.
“This makes this operation unique in the history of humanity.”
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While President Zelensky said last week: “Helicopter pilots for many weeks were flying there, knowing that 90 per cent do not return … Imagine what these people did.
“They flew there to give food, water and weapons to Azovstal defenders and took away the wounded.
“We lost many pilots. They are absolutely heroic.”
It comes as relatives of Ukrainian fighters who remained for weeks under the besieged Azovstal steelworks said on Monday they had received no news of the whereabouts of their loved ones since they were evacuated to Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.
Sandra Krotevich, sister of the Azov regiment’s first deputy commander, Bohdan Krotevich, said relatives had no idea what was happening to the detained fighters.
“Where they are, what’s happening to them, in what condition they are, we do not know,” Krotevich said.
“We very much expect Russia to treat them in accordance with the Geneva Convention, in accordance with the international law just like Ukraine treats the Russian POWs.”
Natalia Zarytska, wife of an Azov regiment soldier, said she had been contacted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which helped oversee the mass evacuations.