Ukraine has lost a “mega talent,” the country’s air force spokesperson has said, commenting on the death of fighter pilot Andrey ‘Juice’ Pilshchikov. One of the faces of Kiev’s campaign for the delivery of F-16 fighter jets, he was killed along with two of his colleagues during a training flight on Friday.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Ukrainian Air Force representative Yury Ignat described Pilshchikov as a “young officer with mega knowledge and mega talent,” who contributed a lot to reforming the country’s military aviation.
The spokesperson added that the late pilot met with US government officials last year, lobbying for the provision of F-16s. According to Ignat, Pilshchikov, who spoke English well, also talked a lot about Kiev’s needs during his numerous interviews with Western media.
The official recounted how much Juice had yearned to fly the F-16, adding that his death has special poignancy now that the “American planes are actually on the horizon.”