Major Anton Lystopad, who was awarded the title of best pilot of the Ukrainian Air Force in 2019, was killed in combat while fighting Russian forces.
The pilot’s death comes just days after he was honored by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky with the award: the Order of Courage, 3rd class, for his ‘courage, bravery and professionalism’.
Lystopad, a pilot of the 204th Sevastopol Tactical Aviation Brigade, was buried next to Colonel Yury Pohorily in the village of Chukalivka, near the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk, last Monday (15).
More than 100 Ukrainian relatives and military personnel gathered at the funeral to pay their respects as two fighter jets flew overhead in honor of the soldier.
It is unclear exactly how and where the major died, but his passing was confirmed by his former school, the Lyceum of Physics and Technique of the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Council.
Lystopad studied there from 2005 to 2008 before becoming a “highest class” military pilot who defended Ukraine “from the very first minutes” of the Russian invasion.
The pilot also led the Ukrainian Air Force in a parade to mark the 30th anniversary of the country’s independence last year.
“Millions of Ukrainians watched with awe and pride as a column of aviation troops paraded over Khreshchatyk on the day of the 30th anniversary of independence. The leader of this column was our Anton,” the school said.
Russia cites the demilitarization of Ukraine as one of its main goals, something it says is necessary to pre-emptively guarantee its own security in the face of what it calls uncontrolled expansion by NATO’s Western military alliance.
* Intern at R7under the supervision of Pablo Marques