The air bridge involved the backbone of the Polish transport aviation: CASA C295M and C-130E Hercules.
The Polish Air Force has completed the evacuation of Ukrainians with Polish descent living in eastern Ukraine and extracted them to refugee camps in Poland on Jan. 13.
The operation was conducted by C-130E Hercules and C295M cargo planes which flew to Kharkiv to board 178 persons belonging to a large ethnic minority in Ukraine which is set apart from the main body of population.
People who were qualified to be extracted were in possession of Karta Polaka, literally meaning “Pole’s card”, a.k.a Polish Charter a document which confirms the Polish citizenship of people who cannot obtain dual citizenship in the countries where they are residing (Ukraine in this case) while being Polish. These people also had no Polish citizenship or permission to stay in Poland earlier on.
The first wave of flights evacuated about 120 people living in the areas controlled by the pro-Russia separatists, while the remaining 60 were transported during the night, between Jan. 12 and 13.
The operation, consisting of five flights and coordinate with the Ukrainian authorities, was kept confidential until its completion, even though, as highlighted by the Polish Dziennik Zbrojny website, C-130 aircraft flying to Ukraine could be tracked on Flightradar24.com website on Jan. 13., at. 12.00 CET.
According to the Polish government officials, the persons who have been evacuated are to be placed in refugee camps for 6 months, depending on the needs. People who have Polish citizenship and would be able to find a job could leave the refugee facilities earlier.
Image Credit: Polish AF 3rd Transport Aviation Wing