Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska used three helicopters to transport journalists and Ministry officials to the Krivolak army range for a briefing on the Defender Europe 21 maneuvers. The practice to use helicopters for a short car trip came under scrutiny after Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce did the same to travel to Prilep, while a badly needed airlift was denied to a critically injured shepherd.
Similarly to Zaev, the Defense Ministry excused the decision by claiming that the helicopter pilots are required to spend a certain amount of time in the air to maintain their license. The need to use three helicopters was due to social distancing in the crafts – the Ministry also claimed. There was no explanation why can’t the pilots meet their quotas performing actually needed flights – such as medical evacuations or rescues.