A Ukrainian helicopter pilot with the call sign “Flint” told The Warzone the details of the unique operations to deliver weapons to the besieged Azovstal plant and evacuate the wounded defenders of Mariupol.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has published abstracts from the pilot’s story.
He said that in order to bypass Russian air defense systems, helicopters flew at ultra-low altitude, sometimes flights were made at night – the pilots used night vision devices.
Such flights required special skill from the pilots, since they had to maneuver in difficult terrain – fly over the halls, tree crowns and power lines. Sometimes, in order to confuse the enemy, they flew up to Azovstal from the sea.
“Flint” said that once our helicopter managed to fly between two Russian ships. Once the helicopter came under enemy fire, but was able to fly to the plant and land at the specified point.
To organize flights, intelligence conducted a complex operation to misinform the enemy. Our turntables appeared from where the enemy did not expect them.
The pilot said that several of his colleagues refused to participate in such a risky event. But the pilot who made the first flight had a special motivation – along with the wounded “Azov” he evacuated from “Azovstal” and his wife, who serves as a military medic and provided assistance to the victims.
“The importance of the first flight was that many people looked at this operation as impossible, so we wanted to show other pilots and the military that it was possible,” Flint explained.
Recall that recently the head of the GUR, Kirill Budanov , said that 16 Mi-8 aircraft took part in the helicopter operation. Two helicopters were shot down by the invaders. Another helicopter was shot down by the enemy when it arrived to help the crew of one of the affected helicopters.
“All deliveries were successful,” Budanov said.
“Books should be written about these operations and films should be made about the last place of defense of Mariupol. And I think that our children will tell this story, ”Flint believes.