Ukraine war: Second Russian ‘pensioner pilot’ is shot down and killed

Ukraine war: Second Russian ‘pensioner pilot’ is shot down and killed

In a somber turn of events, a second retired pilot, Nikolai Markov, serving in Vladimir Putin’s air force in Ukraine, has met a tragic end. The 63-year-old retired air force colonel lost his life when his Su-25 bomber was shot down over the Luhansk region of Donbas, the exact date shrouded in uncertainty.

Conflicting Reports: A Mystery Unfolds

Conflicting narratives surround Markov’s demise. While some sources suggest he fell victim to friendly fire during a low-altitude flight, Ukraine claims responsibility, asserting that one of their Stinger missiles brought down the Russian veteran. Markov had served as the wingman to another retired pilot, Major General Kanamat Botashev, 63, whose demise was reported earlier this week in a separate Ukrainian fire incident.

Private Military Companies at War

Both pilots were part of private military companies involved in Putin’s war in Ukraine. Markov, born in Russia but holding Belarusian citizenship, found his final resting place in Lida, Belarus, without a clear indication of the burial date. Meanwhile, the disgraced General Botashev, known as ‘Flop Gun,’ had faced expulsion from the Russian air force due to an unauthorized aerobatics stunt but continued his service as a mercenary pilot.

Continued Losses and Grieving Families

The trend of high-ranking Russian military personnel facing casualties in Ukraine persists. Another serving Lieutenant-Colonel, Sergey Nikitin, 43, succumbed to the conflict, adding to the growing list of top brass casualties. Nikitin’s sister, Nadezhda, expressed profound grief, highlighting the toll on Russia’s military in the botched invasion.

Backlash in Russia: Mourning the Fallen

With Russia now acknowledging the loss of 44 serving colonels, a surge in anti-war sentiments becomes evident. Rock concerts in Russia transform into platforms of protest against the Ukrainian conflict. The war’s toll on high-ranking officers raises questions about the efficacy of Russia’s military strategy in Ukraine, with growing discontent among the Russian populace.

As the fallen pilots find their eternal rest, families and friends grapple with the immeasurable loss, and the reverberations of tragedy continue to shape the narrative of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

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