“20 wounded on board, and we were hit by Russian air-defense missile”
A helicopter pilot who carried out missions to deliver supplies and evacuate the wounded from Azovstal: “The main difficulty was that it was necessary to deliver the cargo into the depth of the enemy-held area, which was larger than 100 km. The enemy’s air defense was very dense throughout this area, and it was not only difficult — it was almost impossible to achieve. But the practice has shown that it is possible, and we did it.
On the way back, at the 6th kilometer, my helicopter was hit by a man-portable air-defense missile — and one engine failed. Another helicopter behind me was less fortunate, it crashed and the entire crew perished.”
“After the missile hit, we had an adrenaline rush — and we just did what we had to do. There were 20 wounded on board, and we understood that if we were to land somewhere in the field, how would they be picked up and evacuated further? Another helicopter would be needed, and this would become an unplanned operation, so we just flew to the landing site.”