The 250 Ukrainian troops with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo have returned home to help fight Russian forces.
When the withdrawal of the Ukrainian aviation unit was announced in March, diplomats warned that it could seriously shortfall the UN mission in helicopters.
These are vital in the fight against the various rebel groups in the dense forests of eastern DR Congo.
The eight Ukrainian helicopters made up about a third of the UN fleet.
Since the Russian invasion in February, Ukraine had already withdrawn its troops from the other UN peacekeeping mission where they had been deployed.
When the Ukrainians left DR Congo, Brazil’s UN Force Commander General Marcos Da Costa said “their 10 years of immense contribution” was much appreciated.
The UN mission in DR Congo, Monusco, is already under pressure in the country.
It has been widely criticized for not doing enough to restore peace to the east, where numerous armed groups have been active for three decades and killed, raped and looted the region’s rich mineral resources, such as gold and diamonds.
In July, 36 people, including four UN peacekeepers, died when protesters searched UN buildings in cities in eastern DR Congo.
After 22 years in the country, the mission is supposed to end, but no date has been set for operations to end.
It is one of the largest and most expensive of the UN’s 12 peacekeeping missions.