In a notable development highlighting the growing partnership between Russia and Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean government has purchased Ansat helicopters and an ambulance from a visiting Russian delegation to bolster the country’s emergency services. The transaction took place within the framework of the delegation’s visit, underscoring Zimbabwe’s commitment to enhancing its medical capabilities. The details were announced by Rostec, the Russian state corporation responsible for promoting the development, production, and export of high-tech industrial products.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa had previously expressed his ambition to establish a robust sanitary aviation system in the country. The acquisition of the Russian-made Ansat helicopters represents a significant step toward realizing this goal. Known for their reliability and performance, Soviet and Russian helicopters have gained a strong foothold in Africa, being extensively utilized by numerous countries across the continent. The introduction of the Ansats in Zimbabwe marks a crucial milestone in the country’s healthcare infrastructure.
During the presentation of the Ansat helicopters in Zimbabwe, Andrey Perevedentsev, the chief physician of the National Air Aviation Service of Russia, highlighted the advanced medical equipment and capabilities of the aircraft. Referring to them as “flying intensive care units,” Perevedentsev acquainted his Zimbabwean counterparts with the helicopters’ extensive features, emphasizing their potential to revolutionize emergency medical services in the country.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, addressing the gathering at the ceremony, highlighted the challenges faced by Zimbabwe due to the existing sanctions imposed on the country. He expressed his appreciation for the support from Russia, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between nations facing similar circumstances.
“Zimbabwe is under sanctions, we are constrained unlike our neighbors and the rest of the world to acquire the tools we need to mitigate the impact of cyclones and disasters in our region,” stated President Mnangagwa. He further added, “This equipment will enhance our country’s response capacity and enable us to assist neighboring countries like Malawi and Mozambique, which are often struck by natural disasters.”
The event witnessed the presence of the Russian envoy to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Nikolai Krasilnikov, who commended the strengthened ties between the two countries. “It makes us proud that in the current geopolitical situation, Russia and Zimbabwe as all-weather friends enhance their interaction despite threats of sanctions and challenges of the turbulent times we live through,” remarked Ambassador Krasilnikov.
Out of the 18 helicopters delivered, 12 have been designated as air ambulances, emphasizing the government’s commitment to improving emergency medical services. The remaining six helicopters are specifically designed to bolster law enforcement operations within the country.
The Zimbabwean presidential communication office announced that the aircraft fleet is expected to expand further, with a total of 32 helicopters planned to be operational by the year 2025. This expansion is seen as a significant step towards strengthening Zimbabwe’s capabilities to effectively respond to emergencies and protect its citizens.
The acquisition of this aircraft fleet is seen as a vital development, especially in light of the recurring natural disasters that have hit the region. With these new assets, Zimbabwe aims to improve its disaster response mechanisms and collaborate closely with neighboring countries to mitigate the impact of cyclones and other calamities.
Despite the challenges imposed by sanctions, Zimbabwe remains determined to forge partnerships and seek assistance to overcome the hurdles it faces. The support received from Russia demonstrates the importance of international cooperation and solidarity in addressing common challenges and promoting resilience in the face of adversity.