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Experienced Ukrainian pilot killed in action

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 8, 2024 2:56 PM 1 min read
A photo of the pilot posted on Facebook on Feb. 8, 2024. (Rostyslav Lazarenko / Facebook)
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Vladislav Rykov, a highly experienced Ukrainian Air Force pilot, was killed in action on Feb. 7, the 299th Tactical Aviation Brigade reported on social media.

Rykov "had 385 sorties under his belt — he was the best pilot and commander I knew," fellow Air Force pilot Rostyslav Lazarenko posted on Facebook. "My heart was ripped out yesterday."

No further details about Rykov's death were provided.

A month earlier, Vladyslav Zalistovskyi, a 23-year-old MiG-29 pilot known by the call sign "Blue Helmet," was also killed during a combat mission.

He was known through his Instagram channel named Blue Helmet, where Zalistovskyi published videos of his flights. The account has amassed over 3,000 followers.

In another incident from last August, three Ukrainian pilots, including well-known aviator Andrii Pilshchykov with the call sign "Juice," died in a mid-air collision between two training jets.

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