Several iconic figures died at once
Losses of the Ukrainian Air Force have reached a critical level. There was nothing and no one to fly. So says a military expert, a former officer of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Mikhail Khodarenok.
Photo: Global Look Press
“Elite The Ukrainian Air Force is over. Everyone who could fly has been destroyed,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. According to him, since February 24, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have lost a large number of aircraft and helicopters, “along with the machines, experienced pilots have died, and it is impossible to replace them in the foreseeable future.”
Khodarenok named the best military pilots of the Ukrainian Air Force who were shot down in air battles or came under fire from Russian air defense. This is the former squadron commander of the 831st Galata Tactical Aviation Brigade Dmitry Fisher; 1st class pilot Colonel Alexander Oksanchenko. In March, the plane of Major Stepan Chobanu, Oksanchenko's partner and an officer with combat experience unique by the standards of Ukraine, was shot down. At the same time, the plane of Major Stepan Tarabalka, who was called the “Ghost of Kyiv”, was shot down.
The commander of the aviation unit of the Sevastopol Tactical Aviation Brigade Dmitry Chumachenko also died; Deputy Navy Commander for Aviation Colonel Igor Bedzai; Lieutenant Colonel of the Ukrainian Air Force Vyacheslav Yerko; Chief of Intelligence of the Headquarters of the 299th Tactical Aviation Brigade, Major Oleksandr Kukurba.
Three high-ranking Ukrainian Air Force officers were killed by the Russian Aerospace Forces strike on the command post in Vinnitsa: Major Konstantin Puzyrenko, Head of the Armament and Logistics Service of the Air Force Command, Colonel Oleg Makarchuk , as well as Air Force Colonel Dmitry Burdiko.
Among the well-known dead military pilots of Ukraine, the expert also named Colonel Ivan Sholomiy, an officer of the 18th separate helicopter detachment of the Air Force and Captain Anton Listopad, who in 2019 was recognized as “the best pilot in Ukraine.”
Recently, one of the best died Air Force fighter pilots Alexander Oksanchenko. He was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.
In 2019-2020, 70 elite crews retired from the armed forces. At the beginning of 2022, there was a massive exodus of military pilots. Reasons – low salary and lack of prospects. Ukraine needed about 400 pilots.
“Taking into account the fact that about three hundred military flights could serve in Ukraine (until February 24, 2022. -“ MK ”), the picture looks sad,” sums up Khodarenok.
Sbito 267 Ukrainian aircraft. That is, 230-250 Air Force officers died.
“Such losses mean that after the elite left the Air Force, there was no one to fly, and the professionalism of those who remained was at a low level. The technical condition of the fighters was also superimposed on the shortage of personnel. Many vehicles, including the Su-27 and MiG-29, have not been modernized since the times of the USSR,” the expert concluded.