Helicopter of the Russian EMERCOM on Serbian sky
The helicopter Mi-8 belonging to the Russian Emergency Ministry arrived at the Constantine the Great airport in Nis by the request of the Serbian side, which was based on the Serbian National Meteorological Service forecasts about extremely hot weather in August and small amount of precipitation. The situation with fires in neighboring Balkan countries (Montenegro, Croatia and Greece) confirms the need of such step from Belgrade side.
In accordance with the agreement between the Serbian and the Russian sides, the helicopter will be in Serbia throughout August with purpose of carrying out necessary preventive work and combating wild fires. The Russian MI-8 crew consists of 5 experienced EMERCOM representatives.
Arrival and disposition of the helicopter are based on the provisions of the intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in emergency humanitarian response, signed on 20.10.2009 and on the assistance request of the Serbian Government from July 20th, 2017.
The first meeting of the mixed working group on the helicopter use is planned for August 3rd, when directions for MI-8 activities will be determined - the most dangerous areas and temporary priorities. It is well known that even now there are fires in many Serbian areas. RSHC have already sent a high-pressure pump to Kladovo. Perhaps, this area will be declared as “the object number 1”.
The Russian crew will work together with the Serbian colleagues, solving the following tasks: reconnaissance, defining priority areas, evacuation of victims, interaction with ground forces, aerial firefighting.
In 2012 during large-scale forest fires in the Southeastern Europe, Russia sent its aircraft to Serbia to combat fires. Fires in Tara National Park were the most dangerous that time. The arrival of the Russian EMERCOM air group made it possible to localize fires in the shortest possible time and save many lives and material resources of the country. Later, in 2014, an aircraft was deployed in Nis preventively, in case of emergencies.
Representative of the Serbian Ministry of Interior Srdjan Mitrovic said: “We believe that the arrival of the Russian helicopter, which by its characteristics exceeds the Serbian capabilities, will help to reduce both the risk and damage from possible forest fires in Serbia, especially in remote mountain areas ...”
In turn, the crew commander Vladimir Seryshev said: “We arrived on duty for 30 days. We are grad to help the brotherly Serbian people!”