Hammerblow for Putin as Russia's two top fighter pilots killed in HIMARS missile blast

The death of Lt-Col Potyomin, who was married and had two children, aged 15 and eight, was confirmed by his family.

His godmother Natalya Duddinka told Russian media of her “huge, huge grief”, saying “there are no words to express this pain”.

Lt-Col Potyomin’s father Alexey Potyomin, chairman of the Volgograd Regional Parachuting Federation, said: “My son’s car was hit by a HIMARS missile, which we have been hearing so much about lately…

“His injuries were incompatible with life.”

The pilot was reportedly posthumously awarded the order of courage by a Putin decree.

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