United Nations, January 30, 2019 - Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations - Since the beginning of the UN Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), helicopters of 18 Separate Helicopter Detachment have proven themselves to be the most powerful weapon of Mission force component.
During three months service of the ninth rotation, crews of Mi-24 combat helicopters completed 139 fire damage missions against local illegal armed groups. 124 of them were in November 2018.
This is due to a large-scale military operation, carried out this month by the Mission forces and the DR Congo armed forces. Operation under the code name “Scorpion” was aimed to destroy the strong points of the “Allied Democratic Forces” (ADF) illegal armed group.
The need for the operation was caused by the “ADF” militants activation, who carried out armed attacks against DR Congo service personnel, Mission’s peacekeepers and representatives of non-governmental humanitarian organizations working on overcome and prevention of the 10th outbreak of Ebola virus in the north-eastern region of the country, as well as attacks against civilian population in order to demonstrate weakness of local government, its failure to ensure security of citizens and provoke increased distrust to the UN units.
Taking into account large-caliber weapons, in particular 12.7 mm machine guns, possessed by “ADF”, the level of threat to the personnel involved in the operation was defined as “high”.
According to the plan, the operation “Scorpion” was conducted in three stages and involved forces and means of Guatemala and Tanzania special forces, infantry battalions of the Republic of Malawi and the Republic of South Africa armed forces, Mi-8 multipurpose helicopters and Mi-24 combat helicopters of Ukraine, as well as Oryx helicopters of South Africa Republic.
The first stage included the deployment of ground advance units. Their tactical redeployment was provided by Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters. The next stage was aimed to destroy fortified positions of militants with Mi-24 strikes.
During the second stage of the operation, “ADF” fighters engaged the Ukrainian national contingent helicopters with small arms; however, due to the professionalism of Ukrainian pilots and their timely maneuvers, there were no injuries among detachment personnel and no serious damage to aviation equipment.
During the third stage, ground forces advanced and cleared the area of operation under the cover of air assets of the Ukrainian and South African national contingents.
After the firepower preparation executed by 18 Separate Helicopter Detachment, ground forces successfully completed the operation and even reported cases of militants voluntary surrender. However, on the night of November 14th to 15th 2018, “ADF” performed armed attack on temporary deployment sites of the Mission and the DR Congo armed forces, which were involved in the operation in the area of the Kidide village. As a result, 6 Malawian and 9 Congolese soldiers were killed, 6 Malawian and 12 Congolese soldiers were injured.
The servicemen of the Ukrainian national contingent express their deep condolences to the partner countries on the loss of their best sons. 18 Separate Helicopter Detachment continue faithfully carrying out their duties, defending democracy, freedom, peace and order and remaining reliable ally.
During “Scorpion” operation the Ukrainian national contingent service members of MONUSCO has suffered no damage.