By Spy Uganda Correspondent
The contingent of Ukrainian troops participating in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned home to help in the fighting against invading Russian troops.
Jacques Ndjoli, who serves on Congo’s parliamentary defense committee, said that the Ukrainian withdrawal of some 250 troops represented a relatively serious loss to the mission.
When the withdrawal of Ukraine’s aviation unit was announced in March, some diplomats warned it could leave the UN mission seriously short of helicopters.
Ukraine had eight helicopters in the mission, about one-third of the total UN fleet there.
The Congo is battling various rebel groups based in the thick forests in the eastern regions of the African nation.
The Ukrainian military in 2019 said crews of the Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters would conduct air reconnaissance and provide support for UN ground units.
Ukraine has pulled troops out of other UN peacekeeping missions since Russia’s full-scale invasion was launched in February.
Support To DRC
The Ukrainian peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 2012.
In May 2019, the tenth rotation of units of Ukrainian peacekeepers took place in the DRC as part of the 18th Separate Helicopter Detachment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In 2021, Ukrainian personnel in the DRC numbered 250 servicemen.
As of March 31, 2022, the total number of personnel of the mission amounts to 14,789 people.
More than thirty countries have contributed military and police personnel to peacekeeping operations, with India being the largest donor.