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Tragic Collision Claims Lives of Ukrainian Fighter Ace and Fellow Pilots

A mid-air collision that claimed the lives of two additional airmen and one of Ukraine’s most renowned fighter pilots.

In the initial stages of Russia’s invasion, Andrii Pilshchykov gained notoriety by taking part in dogfights above Kyiv.

The Ukrainian military praised Pilshchykov as a pilot with “painful and irreparable” and described the airmen’s deaths as “mega knowledge and mega talent” losses. Two L-39 training aircraft that were flying over northern Ukraine collided.

 An investigation is being conducted to determine whether the Friday crash in Zhytomyr Oblast was caused by improper application of flight preparation regulations.

The area is hundreds of kilometers from the frontline and located to the west of Kyiv, the capital.

In his weekly video message, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the fatalities and promised that his nation would “never forget anyone who defended the free skies of Ukraine”

 Pilshchykov, who flew under the call sign “Juice” told to the BBC about the pressure he faced as a MiG-29 fighter pilot entrusted with trying to intercept the lethal weapons before they struck last October as Russia unleashed hundreds of cruise missiles and drones at Ukraine.

Read Next: Ukraine Conflict Escalates: Three Fatalities in Belgorod Following Drone Strikes on Moscow

Tragic Crash Amid F-16 Training Preparations

A mid-air collision that claimed the lives of two additional airmen and one of Ukraine’s most renowned fighter pilots.

He also discussed his “dream” or lifelong “mission” of joining the Ukrainian air force.

 Pilshchykov’s companion Melaniya Podolyak also confirmed his passing by sharing a photo of his air force ID on social media. As Ukraine gets ready to receive up to 61 F-16 fighter jets from its allies in an effort to amp up its counteroffensive, the crash and fatalities come as a significant shock.

The Pentagon announced on Thursday that English-language instruction for Ukrainian pilots on using F-16s will start in Texas in September, and Arizona flight training would start in October. Other Western allies, meanwhile, are getting ready to begin training Ukrainians later this month.

It will take about five months to train to fly an F-16. The American decision to supply F-16 jets earlier this year was a U-turn.

This is due to the US and its Nato partners’ fears that further escalation with nuclear-armed Russia might result from the action, which they had earlier rejected.

In a message posted on his Facebook page, Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, paid respect to Pilshchykov.

Read Next: Ukraine Kicks Off Extensive Training for F-16 Fighter Jets

Source: BBC

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