Three pilots got killed as two L-39 combat trainer aircraft collided in the sky while performing a combat mission in Zhytomyr Region, the Ukrainian Air Force has said on Telegram.
"Unfortunately, all three pilots were killed. The investigation is ongoing. Among the dead is a well-known pilot of the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade with the call sign Juice. We express our condolences to the families of the victims. This is a painful and irreparable loss for all of us," the Air Force said.
The circumstances of the crash are being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation. During the investigation, special attention will be paid to the technical condition of the aircraft and compliance with flight preparation rules. Specialists will conduct a thorough diagnosis of the black boxes.
"Preliminary qualification of the offence: violation of flight rules or preparation for them (Article 416 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The sanction of the article provides for punishment in the form of imprisonment for up to 15 years," the SBI informed.
Procedural supervision is provided by the Zhytomyr Specialised Defence Prosecutor's Office of the Central Region.
Andriy Pilshchykov, aka Juice, has been defending Ukrainian skies since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. He served as a MiG-29 fighter pilot and took part in the defence of Kyiv.