Zambia News

Ukraine: DR Congo Peacekeeping Mission 

(BBC) The 250 Ukrainian soldiers who were serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the UN peacekeeping mission have returned home to aid in the conflict with Russian forces.

When the Ukraine’s aviation section announced its pullout in March, officials cautioned that the UN mission might be severely short on helicopters as a result.

These are crucial in the struggle against many rebel organizations headquartered in the dense jungles of eastern DR Congo.

About a third of the UN fleet was made up of the eight Ukrainian helicopters.

Ukraine had already withdrawn its forces from the second UN peacekeeping mission where they had been stationed since the Russian incursion in February.

The UN force’s Brazilian commander, Gen. Marcos da Costa, expressed gratitude for “their 10 years of outstanding commitment” as the Ukrainians left the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

There is already strain on the UN mission in the DR Congo, Monusco.

It has received harsh criticism for not doing enough to bring about peace in the east, where a number of armed groups have been operating for three decades, killing, raping, and plundering the area’s abundant mineral wealth, including gold and diamonds.

In July, demonstrators trashed UN headquarters in eastern DR Congo cities, resulting in the deaths of 36 people, including four UN personnel.

The mission is meant to be winding down after 22 years in the nation, but there is no specific timetable for when its operations will stop.

One of the 12 peacekeeping missions of the UN, it is also one of the biggest and most expensive.

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