Ukraine’s defense ministry says three Ukrainian pilots died in a plane crash during a mission, including a fighter jet pilot known for his contribution to the fight against Russia in a unit called “The Ghost of Kyiv.”
The Ukrainian Air Force announced that the crash involving two military planes occurred in the sky over the northwestern region of Zhytomyr during a combat mission on Friday.
The announcement said those killed include a pilot with the call sign “Juice.”
CNN reported that “Juice” was a member of “The Ghost of Kyiv,” which defended central and northern Ukraine at the onset of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Ukraine will never forget all those who defended its free sky.”
The defense ministry called the demise of the three pilots a “tragic loss.” The incident came as the ministry is working to accelerate training of pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, following the announcement by nations supporting Ukraine that they would supply them to the country.
Britain’s defense ministry said on Saturday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had put Russian forces under pressure in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and southern Ukraine. It said Ukraine continues to gradually gain ground in the south.
It added that there is a possibility that Russia will increase the intensity of its offensive efforts on the eastern front in the next two months.