Putin’s ally brags about Russian medical and ambulance helicopters supplied to Zimbabwe

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov on Dec. 4 at the Kremlin in Moscow. PHOTO: ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Ansat medical helicopter and ambulance vehicle have been delivered for Zimbabwe emergency services during the Russian delegation visit to the African republic. The medical vehicle delivery ceremony was held during the 80th anniversary of the president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The head of the Russian delegation Aleksandr Kozlov, the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, conveyed congratulations to Emmerson Mnangagwa from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko.

“Our vehicles have proved effective in the vast expanses of Africa. Many countries in the region highly appreciate the reliability and adequate performance of the Russian aircraft. I am sure that cooperation between the Russian Helicopters holding and the Republic of Zimbabwe will be also fruitful and the delivery of Ansat medical helicopter which allows patients to be promptly evacuated will be an important step in the development of the national medical services,” said Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rosteс State Corporation.

Sergei Chemezov is one of the most powerful people in Russia’s defense industry, according to the Wall Street Journal. Rostec, the state industrial holding he runs, is a giant in the Russian arms sector, controlling companies that produce Russian small arms, helicopters, radar systems and a wide range of other weapons.

A number of the holding’s units—and Mr. Chemezov himself—are now subject to Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

Ansat was presented in Zimbabwe by Andrey Perevedentsev, Chief Medical Officer of the National Air Ambulance Service of Russia. He told African colleagues about the capabilities of the medical vehicles and emphasized that the helicopter was actually a “flying intensive care unit.”

The delivered Ansat is the first step in the establishment of medical aviation in Zimbabwe. About 50 medical helicopters will be required for the country. And it is very likely that this will be a large-scale cooperation project between Russia and Zimbabwe.