A mural called 'The ghost of Kyiv', dedicated to Ukrainian air force pilots who were defending the sky over Kyiv during the Russian attacks, in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, 29 August 2022. EFE/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

Famed fighter pilot Andrii ‘Juice’ Pilshchykov dies with two others in mid-air collision

Kyiv, Aug 27 (EFE).- Andrii Pilshchykov, who was considered one of Ukraine’s best fighter pilots and gained fame in the early days of Russia’s invasion, has died in a training accident along with two other colleagues, Ukraine’s military reported.

The prominent fighter pilot who was known for his call sign ‘Juice’ became well known for belonging to the Ghost of Kyiv collective of pilots who defended the capital as well as other territories in the early days of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s military described the death of the three pilots as “painful and irreparable” and paid special tribute to Pilshchykov who was described as a highly talented and knowledgeable aviator.

The mid-air crash involved two L-39 aircraft during a flight in the Zhytomyr region on August 25 hundreds of kilometers from the front line in northern Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of the pilots during his evening address to the nation late on Saturday saying “Ukraine will never forget anyone who defended Ukraine’s free sky. May they always be remembered!”

The crash comes just as Ukraine prepares to receive 61 F-16 aircraft for which Ukrainian pilots will receive special training.EFE