Ukrainian Air Force captain Anton Listopad dies at 31

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Ukrainian Air Force captain Anton Listopad dies at 31

An obituary for the celebrated captain was released by his school.

A Ukrainian Air Force captain, described by the military as an ace fighter pilot, died while defending his homeland, his childhood school reported in an obituary. It did not reveal the circumstances of his death.

The school in the city of Ivano-Frankovsk said on social media that Anton Listopad was recognized as the best pilot of the Ukrainian Air Force in 2019 and took part in military action in the east of Ukraine. A captain of that name was named among those awarded with various merits by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky last month. The man has his own Wikipedia page in the Ukrainian version of the online encyclopedia, though it was only created two days before Zelensky's order was published.

The school that announced Listopad's death published a biography of the man last year, according to which he joined the Ukrainian armed forces in 2010. He underwent two surgeries to qualify to be a combat pilot, and studied at a military aviation school in Kharkov, which he graduated from in 2018, realizing his childhood dream, the article said.

According to the bio, Listopad was 31 at the time of his death. The article included several photos of him as a student, piloting a fighter jet and receiving the Order for Courage from Zelensky.

The obituary stated that Listopad led the air parade over Kiev during the last year s celebration of the country's independence, with millions of Ukrainians watching with joy and pride. The Russian military claims that it has virtually undisputed control of the airspace of a large part of Ukraine, making most combat missions extremely dangerous for Ukrainian military pilots. More than 260 Ukrainian fighter jets have been destroyed by Russian warplanes and air defenses during the conflict, according to the latest update by the Russian Defense Ministry.