According to official information, three pilots died in a collision between two planes in Ukraine. Two L-39 training aircraft collided in mid-air in the Zhytomyr region. The accident itself happened on Friday evening, but was not known until the following day. The pilot Andriy Pilschchykov, known under his pseudonym "Juice", is among the victims.
Several regions in Ukraine, meanwhile, reportedly came under rocket fire early in the morning. Among other things, air defenses were activated in the outskirts of Kiev, as the military administration of the Ukrainian capital announced on Telegram. The governor of Cherkasy, Ihor Taburez, also wrote in his Telegram channel that the central Ukrainian region had activated air defenses. Nothing was initially known about damage or victims. The information could not be independently verified. Russia has been waging a brutal war of aggression against the neighboring country for around 18 months.
Moscow: Ukrainian drones repulsed over Bryansk and Kursk
According to the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, the Russian air defense repelled Ukrainian drone attacks over the Bryansk and Kursk regions overnight. The ministry announced on its Telegram channel that the unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed over the border regions in the south-west of the country. The information could not be independently verified. There have been repeated reports from Russia of similar attacks in recent weeks.
President Zelenskyj mourns the loss of pilots
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commemorated the three pilots who died on Ukrainian Aviation Day. "My condolences to the relatives and confidants, to all those who knew the young men," he said in his daily video address. Zelenskyy recalled that Pilschchykov in particular had made a major contribution to Ukraine's air defenses in its defense against Russian aggression. He promised a full explanation of the incident.
For Kiev, the reputation of its own fighter pilots is of great importance, as Ukraine has been asking its Western allies for modern fighter jets for months. In the meantime, Kiev has received commitments from several countries for the training of fighter pilots and the delivery of F-16 fighter jets.
Just the day before, the Ukrainian state leadership had once again urged urgency to use the F-16 fighter jets it had promised against the aggressor Russia as soon as possible. "Our goal is to get closer to the point in time when the F-16s will help us keep Russian terrorists away. As soon as possible," Zelenskyy wrote on Platform X, formerly Twitter.
Zelenskyj only touched on the ongoing fighting at the front. He thanked the soldiers for their dedication to the various battlefields, highlighting the battles around Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and near the village of Robotyne in the south of the country. However, he did not give details of developments at the front.
The general staff spoke of further progress towards the city of Melitopol - this also means the front section near Robotyne, where the Ukrainian soldiers are now fortifying new lines. The military did not make any more concrete statements either.
Ukraine prepares further mobilization
According to their own statements, the Ukrainian leadership is preparing further conscriptions for the defensive fight against Russia. "Yes, the military have contacted us and there will probably be an additional call-up," Secretary of the National Council for Security and Defense Oleksiy Danilov told Ukrainian radio yesterday. However, he assured that the mobilization would not go beyond the parameters already set at the beginning of the war on February 24, 2022.
According to Danilov, this is not an unscheduled measure. The mobilization has been going on for a year and a half, and several stages have already been completed. "You don't have to make a fuss about it, everything is going according to the plan that we are currently pursuing," said the top Kiev official.
After the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine declared martial law. All men between the ages of 18 and 60 are therefore generally obliged to do military service and can be called up - unless they are exempt from service for health or social reasons, for example because they are single fathers. The exact number of those called up so far is not known. A year ago, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar put the number at several hundred thousand. Because of the losses at the front, new recruits have to be trained and sent into battle again and again.
Second ship leaves Odessa - despite Russian blockade
Despite the end of the grain agreement with Ukraine announced by Russia, a bulk carrier has left the port of Odessa. According to the ship data recorder Marinetraffic, the ship left Odessa yesterday morning and is on its way to Varna in Bulgaria. The "Primus" is already the second freighter to cast off from Odessa via Ukrainian ports despite the naval blockade again imposed by Russia.
The "Primus" is flying the Liberian flag. The ship has been in port since the end of February. At that time it still arrived there under the name "Polarstar". During that time it changed hands and now belongs to a shipping company from Singapore. It is unclear what cargo the "Primus" has on board. In mid-July, Moscow withdrew its security guarantees for a grain corridor to Türkiye. Instead, all ships calling at Ukrainian ports would be considered as carrying military cargo, it said.
What is important today
Ukraine is continuing its counter-offensive in the east and south of the country to liberate Russian-held areas. Although experts are now seeing initial progress, the heavy fortifications make it difficult for the Ukrainians to make headway. At the same time, Russia's army is advancing on parts of the front into Ukrainian territory and, according to its own statements, has recently gained ground again in the Kharkiv region.