Second ‘retired pilot’ to come out of retirement for Putin is shot down in Ukraine: Air Force colonel, 63, ‘hit by friendly fire’ while flying for private military supporting invasion
- Nikolai Markov, 63, a former Russian air force colonel, was shot down in Luhansk
- He was flying a Su-25 bomber near the ground when it was blown up
- Markov had retired but returned to combat for a private military company
- Comes after Major General Kanamat Botashev and retired fighter pilot was also shot down and killed in the skies over Ukraine
A second “retired pilot” flying for Vladimir Putin’s air force in Ukraine was shot down and killed.
Nikolai Markov, 63, a retired air force colonel, died when his Su-25 bomber was shot down over the Luhansk region of Donbass on an unknown date.
There is conflicting information about his death. Some claim he was killed by friendly fire as he flew low to the ground, but Ukraine says he was shot down by one of their Stinger missiles.
Markov was wingman for retired Maj. Gen. Kanamat Botashev, 63, whose death was reported this week after being hit by Ukrainian fire in another incident.
Nikolai Markov, 63, a retired Russian Air Force colonel (left and right), was killed fighting for a private Russian military contractor in Ukraine
Major General Kanamat Botashev, 63, another retired Russian fighter pilot, was also shot down in Ukraine this week, friends confirmed
Both flew for private military companies participating in Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Markov was born in Russia but had Belarusian citizenship and was buried in Lida, Belarus. The exact date of his funeral has not been announced.
Disgraced General Kanamat “Flop Gun” Botashev was also shot down by a Ukrainian Stinger missile.
He had been fired from the Russian Air Force after an unauthorized aerial stunt on a joyride – but was hired as a mercenary pilot.
Separately, Russia lost another acting lieutenant colonel as Sergey Nikitin, 43, a father of three whose death was revealed by Sister Nadezhda.
It continues a trend of Russian top figures being massacred in Ukraine while Russia’s military is mistreated in its botched invasion of the country.
“It’s impossible to think about this terrible loss,” she said, heartbroken.
“The whole world is blackened with sorrow, and the sun no longer shines.
“I can’t believe you left us brother. Our sorrow is endless.
Markov had served in the Russian Air Force and retired, but returned to the battlefield to fight for a private military contractor
Colonel Sergey Nikitin, 43, has also been confirmed dead in combat in Ukraine – just the latest in a line of senior military figures killed
“You will forever be alive in our memories and always loved.”
It is now known that Russia has lost 44 serving colonels, although the toll may be higher, because it has refused to provide detailed statistics on its full toll in Ukraine.
Besides Botashev, nine Russian generals are also known to have died with reports that the US was helping Ukraine with intelligence to enable them to target Putin’s top soldiers.
Nikitin came from Zvenigovo in the Mari El Republic on the left bank of the Volga.
A friend, Olesya, said: “A day of deep sorrow … we mourn the loss of a loved one together with his family.”
A male friend, Alexey, said: “I just can’t believe he’s gone.
“It feels like he’s far, far away but alive.”
There are increasing signs of a backlash against the war in Russia.
Rock concerts have become the scene of protests against the conflict in Ukraine.
As many as 16 military recruiting offices have been hit with Molotov cocktails, despite offers to speed up conscription into the army through conscription.