Officers and members of the 56th Helicopter Detachment of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) have been commended for their tireless and selfless contributions that make UNMIL’s aviation functions run effectively and efficiently throughout Liberia.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj described them as “stars in the sky”, as she honored 300 Ukrainian soldiers with UN peacekeeping medals for their contribution to the consolidation of peace in Liberia.
UN Envoy Løj noted that: “All of us in UNMIL may not be fully aware of the complexity of the work you carry out, rain or shine; but you are always there, working behind the scenes, transporting the Mission’s personnel and guests, evacuating the wounded and the ailing, providing air escort and support to force movement”. Speaking further, the SRSG said the Ukrainian airmen secure the airfields, convoys and cargo, and ensure day-to-day observation of flights.
Addressing the Ukrainian aviation military personnel at their base located at Liberia’s international airport, Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, Ms. Løj thanked them for being a capable force, and for making it possible for the Mission to operate in regions of the country that face enormous infrastructural difficulties. “Your presence and actions contribute greatly to the consolidation of peace throughout Liberia”, she said.
The SRSG paid tribute to the Ukrainian Commanding Officer, Col. Volodymyr Pastukhov, for the exemplary service exhibited by officers under his command. “We fully entrust our lives in your care – in the hands of these capable officers through the 30,288 flight hours of helicopter operations that you have clocked in,” the top UN Envoy added. “I know that for you in the Aviation Unit, especially for pilots and aircrew, safety is paramount,” she said.
Concluding, Ms. Løj challenged the Ukrainian military aviation personnel to always uphold the cherished values of integrity, professionalism and respect for the people and the communities they serve.
She reminded all UNMIL personnel of the importance of maintaining the highest ideals and standards of behavior and urged them to treat the Liberian people with utmost respect and dignity. “Our actions should aim to enhance and not destroy all the hard work and sacrifices that we make daily”, the SRSG emphasized.
Attending the medal award ceremony were the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Rule of Law, Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu; Force Commander, Lt.-Gen. ATM Zahirul Alam; Deputy Force Commander, Maj.-Gen. Carl Modey; Deputy UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Gautam Sawang; the General Manager of Roberts International Airport, Mr. Willie Jones; and other UNMIL senior military and civilian officials.
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