The four helicopters comprised two Mil Mi-2MSBs and two Mi-8MTV-1s (Mi-17s), which have already been delivered and will shortly be integrated into Ukrainian Air Force service. Before delivery, all four were repainted in Ukrainian colours and markings, while one of the Mi-17s was also overhauled. They were transported in a partially disassembled condition and will enter service as soon as they have been re-assembled.
Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said: “Half a year ago, the anti-aircraft defence system Stinger donated by Latvia helped the Ukrainian Army delay the Russian invasion. Now, as Ukrainian soldiers counterattack in many places, our donated helicopters will help carry out military operations and save lives. Western countries’ support for Ukraine must not end until it frees its entire territory from the Russian occupation forces.”
Latvia has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine ever since the Russian invasion on February 24, having previously supplied an unmanned air vehicle (UAV), weapons and individual equipment, dry food rations, ammunition, anti-tank weapons and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles valued at more than €200m. The UAV, a Turkish-made Baykar Bayraktar TB2, was crowdfunded by the Lithuanian public, which raised €6m to buy it. However, Baykar generously donated it for free and it was delivered in July, allowing the money raised to be used instead for vital aid to the Ukrainian people.