As many as 115 servicemen of the Russian helicopter detachment of the international peace-keeping mission in Sierra Leone have been decorated with the UN medals In the Service of Peace.
The UN Secretary-General's special envoy to Sierra Leone Daudi Mwakawago, speaking at the presentation ceremony in the town of Lungi north of Sierra Leone, highly assessed the Russian helicopter crews' contribution to the mission's success. He stressed that their efforts had helped stabilise the situation on Sierra Leone's borders.
The Russian helicopter detachment has been part of the UN mission since 2002. In the past six months alone its pilots made 900 flights totalling 1,100 hours.
The Russian helicopters accompanied ground convoys, carried out air reconnaissance, and backed other operations of the UN peace-keeping forces.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now