Croatia's Promised Mi-8 Helicopters Land in Ukraine

In a move demonstrating solidarity and commitment to Ukraine's defense efforts, Croatia has officially transferred several Mi-8 helicopters to Kiev.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Croatia's Promised Mi-8 Helicopters Land in Ukraine
© Getty Images News/Alex Babenko

In a move demonstrating solidarity and commitment to Ukraine's defense efforts, Croatia has officially transferred several Mi-8 helicopters to Kiev. This gesture, as part of a broader military aid package to Ukraine, was publicized by the Pentagon, referencing statements made by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during his meeting with Croatian counterpart Mario Banožić in Washington, D.C.

Austin lauded Croatia's dedication to aiding Ukraine, highlighting their generosity not only in terms of military equipment such as the Mi-8 helicopters but also in the deployment of troops to NATO-affiliated battlegroups stationed in Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary.

Moreover, Croatia's contribution extends beyond weaponry and personnel, with humanitarian aid also being a significant part of the package. "All of that is making a real difference in Ukraine's fight for freedom. I look forward to your perspectives on the challenges posed by Russia's cruel invasion of its peaceful neighbor Ukraine," Austin expressed during the meeting.

Zagreb's Involvement in the Ukrainian Crisis

Croatia's involvement and assistance to Ukraine didn't begin with this latest handover. In March 2023, during a discreet visit to Ukraine, Banozic had hinted at the possibility of Zagreb supplying Kiev with Mi-8 helicopters and extending support for demining efforts in the war-torn areas.

By August, the narrative took a more concrete shape when Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, after discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, publicized the formulation of another military aid package for Ukraine valued at 30 million euros.

The details of the package, however, remained under wraps at that time. In a subsequent significant diplomatic move, Yuliia Svyrydenko, the First Vice-President of the Ukrainian Government, and the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, inked an interstate agreement focused on collaboration in the pivotal area of demining.

Given the prevalence of unexploded ordnances and landmines in conflict zones, this initiative underscores Croatia's comprehensive approach to assistance, encompassing both immediate military needs and the longer-term rebuilding and safety of Ukraine.

As the situation in Ukraine continues to evolve, Croatia's sustained support serves as a beacon of solidarity in Europe's collective response to the ongoing crisis.

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