Ukraine’s military announced on Tuesday that the legendary Ukrainian Air Force display pilot Colonel Oleksandr Oksanchenko, reportedly nicknamed “Grey Wolf”, was killed after his jet was shot down near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
According to Perild.com, Oksanchenko died in battle, diverting enemy aircraft.
“Colonel Oleksandr Oksanchenko, now a Hero of Ukraine, died in an air battle, distracting enemy aircraft… It’s a pity that he didn’t receive the Hero of Ukraine during his lifetime, because he was worth it… He is a Hero for me forever. Forever alive”, Lana Borisova wrote on Facebook.
European Air Shows said Oksanchenko’s aircraft was shot down over Kyiv on Friday night by the S-400 air defence system operated by Russia.
“Col. Oksanchenko was not only a very experienced pilot who won a number of awards for the best flying display at many events across Europe, but he was also a true fan of airshows. Despite leaving the active service and joining the reserves in late 2018 he volunteered to remain in the Ukrainian Flanker Solo Display Team as a coach/advisor and travelled with the team during the 2019 display season which was also the last airshow season for the team,” European Airshows said.
He had come out of retirement to fight the Russian invasion.
Oksanchenko had performed flight displays of the Su-27 in the Ukrainian Air Force as well as at international air shows such as the Slovak International Air Fest, Czech International Air Fest and Royal International Air Tattoo, the UK’s premier flight display event. At the 2017 RIAT event, Oksanchenko was part of the Ukrainian contingent that got awards for best displays.
Following his death, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posthumously awarded Oksanchenko the Hero of Ukraine honour. In a post on Twitter, the president’s office described Oksanchenko as “one of the best fighter pilots in the world”.