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Tree Ukrainian pilots die in midair collision of training aircraft

Three Ukrainian Air Force pilots died as two L-39 combat training aircraft collided and crashed in Zhytomyr Oblast on 25 August.
Wreckage of one of the L-39, crashed after the midaid collision in Zhytomyr Oblast on 25 August. Photo: Suspilne
Tree Ukrainian pilots die in midair collision of training aircraft

“Under the procedural leadership of the Zhytomyr specialized defense prosecutor’s office of Central region, a criminal proceeding was initiated with the preliminary legal qualification of violation of rules of flights or preparation for them (Article 416 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine),” the Prosecutor General’s Office wrote on Telegram, according to Ukrinform.

The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed the fact of the plane crash and the information about the death of the pilots.

“It is with sadness that we inform you that a terrible plane crash occurred in Zhytomyr region on August 25, 2023. During a combat mission, the crews of two L-39 combat training aircraft collided in the sky. All three pilots, unfortunately, died. The investigation is ongoing,” reads the Air Force’s post.

A well-known 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade pilot Andrii Pilschykov, the call sign JUICE, was among those killed in the crash. 

According to Radio Liberty, the planes crashed into the vegetable gardens of detached houses some 300 meters apart from one another.

On 26 August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed condolences to friends and families of the pilots:

Andrii Pilshchykov flew a MiG-29 fighter jet. After the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war with Ukraine, he defended the skies over Kyiv. In an interview with Western media, he called for the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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