On the Day of the Air Force, President Volodymyr Zelensky flew an F-16 simulator, attended briefings on the fighter, bomber and air defense weapons systems, and talked to the warriors defending Ukrainian skies. He capped off the day by taking part in the first commemoration of the new “Fighters of Evil” postage stamp set, featuring the F-16 grating the Kremlin into shreds.
To commemorate Ukraine’s Air Force Day on August 6, Zelensky toured displays of a Su-25 attack aircraft, a Su-24M bomber, and Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters with the new weapons they are now equipped with.
Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, the Ukrainian Air Force Commander, showed the president how the aircraft have been modernized to use weapons provided by Western allies, including ZUNI air-to-surface missiles, Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles.
The President also received briefings from air defense operators on the capabilities and employment of Patriot and IRIS-T systems.
President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk on Ukraine’s Air Force Day. PHOTO: Office of the President of Ukraine.
He was also shown the operation of an F-16 simulator provided to Ukraine by Czechia to train pilots to fly and employ the F-16. Zelensky then flew a simulator mission in which he intercepted and shot down one of the virtual targets, a Russian Tu-95.
After the President’s successful sortie, Ukrainian Air Force servicemembers gave Zelensky a helmet signed by Air Force pilots who have received the title of Hero of Ukraine and are full holders of the Order “For Courage” and the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky.
“On behalf of the aircrew of the Air Force of Ukraine, let me present you with a symbol of invincibility and future fight for our beloved Ukraine,” said a Ukrainian Air Force fighter pilot who presented Zelensky with the flight helmet.
“As President, you are defending our country together with the Armed Forces. A knight now has a shield - air defense. We would like to present you with a helmet because a knight must have a helmet. To be complete, a knight needs a sword - an aircraft to defeat the air and ground enemy.”
After thanking the fliers for the gift, Zelensky promised he would keep working to ensure that Ukraine receives F-16 fighter aircraft.
In commemoration of Air Force Day, Zelensky, Oleshchuk, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (AFU) Valerii Zaluzhny took part in the cancellation of the “Fighters of Evil” stamp and envelope issued by Ukrposhta on the occasion of Air Force Day.
President Volodymyr Zelensky cancels “Fighters of Evil” stamp commemorating Ukraine’s Air Force Day. PHOTO: Office of the President of Ukraine.
“Stamps are prophetic: When we issue something, it’s bound to happen,” said Ukrposhta Director General Ihor Smilyansky. “That is why today, in honor of the Air Force, hoping that we will soon have F-16s, we issued such a stamp. And now we are going to have a ceremonial cancellation with a special postmark on the Air Force Day.”
According to Ukrposhta, Ukraine’s official mail service, the stamp depicts the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroying the symbol of the “evil empire” by grinding it on an “annihilation” grater. The knight wearing a trident helmet on the envelope represents the nobility, strength and honor of the Ukrainian military defending its homeland.
Zelensky, Reznikov and the two generals canceled the stamps and left their signatures on each of the four canceled copies of the “Fighters of Evil” set.
The stamp was released in a print run of 600,000. The stamp is illustrated by Ukrainian artist Maksym Palenko. A set of four identical stamps, without envelopes, costs Hr. 156 ($4.23).
Proceeds from the sale of the stamps will go toward buying drones for the armed forces.
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