“Ukrainska Pravda” – SUNDAY, 22 MAY 2022, 09:02
Commander of the Azov Regiment Andriy Biletskyi noted the exceptional heroism of the helicopter crews, which delivered reinforcements, weapons, medicine, and other essentials to the defenders of Mariupol blocked by the Russian Federation.
Source: Biletskyi in an interview with “Ukrainska Pravda”
Details: According to the regiment commander, there were more than five attempts to transfer aid to Azovstal defenders, and the absolute majority, except for the last two, were successful.
Biletsky told several episodes of the heroic air breakthrough of the Russian blockade of Mariupol and noted that it was something you would not even see in a movie.
Quote: “That is, everything was fine at first. But in the end, it was clear that the enemy was adapting and watching, that they understood that helicopters were breaking into Mariupol. The credit for these attempts should primarily go to the heroism and the top-level professionalism of the Ukrainian pilots.
Even in movies like “Black Hawk Down” (British-American historical war drama directed by Ridley Scott – ed.) Americans were never sent on a mission more than a hundred kilometres into a deep-seated air defence system while patrolling enemy fighters were in the air. There have never been operations like this in the history of mankind.”
Details: According to Biletskyi, this special operation was planned and conducted under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency of the Ministry of Defence.
Biletskyy says that his role was to organise a landing. According to the commander, 72 Azov fighters were transported by helicopter to strengthen the city’s defences.
One of the first to be flown by helicopter to Mariupol was the Azov fighter “Celtic”, who unfortunately died the next day.
“He died the way he wanted to. He told many friends, ‘I want to die at home.’ And he died on the street next to the house where he was born and raised. He died right in the heart of his small homeland”, Biletskyi said.
The commander of “Azov” also made a special mention of the medics. “Doctors agreed to fly in the helicopter during the last flight. There was a nurse, an anesthesiologist, two surgeons – a total of five medical personnel, civilians. These are people from the city of Dnipro. I think that sooner or later it will be possible to say their names. They are true heroes for me”, Biletskyi said.
According to him, it was difficult for everyone to fly, but the most difficult for the first and those who already knew that the Russians had calculated the flight route and deployed air defence equipment accordingly.
“They flew, clearly realising that the probability (of dying) was just huge. But they flew because they understood that our people were dying there”, the Azov commander stressed.
Regarding the history of the commander of the first helicopter crew, Biletskyi notes the following:
Quote: “Maybe after the war, or even during the war, it will be shown as a film. This is a story for a movie. But the man should tell it himself. It has to be told by the officer, the pilot. And he has something to tell. He is alive and well.”
What happened before: President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that many Ukrainian pilots had died defending Mariupol.
According to the head of state, these are people of outstanding heroism who knew that it was almost impossible to fly to Azovstal and bring (defenders) medicine, food, water, and pick up bodies and the wounded, but agreed to depart regardless.