“The high cost of victory in the battle for Snake Island”: the details of the death of the legendary naval aviation officer became known

In May, Colonel Igor Bedzai, the Deputy Commander of the Navy of the Ukrainian Armed Forces for Aviation, died heroically in the sky over Odesa Region. This happened during the support of the first assault on Zmiiny Island. This was reported by journalists from “Ukrainska Pravda”.

“The main objective of the Ukrainian operation was to render the island unusable for the Russians to use as a foothold. His plan included an air and sea landing on Zmiiny, the destruction of all Russian equipment and, not least, the blockade of all bays capable of receiving Russian ships and boats. Before the very beginning of the operation, the Bayraktars managed to catch the moment of turning off the Russian anti-aircraft missile complex “Pantsir” and destroyed it. The way to the island seemed open.”

Snake Island

According to “Ukrainskaya Pravda” sources, on May 7, 8 Ukrainian helicopters advanced in the direction of Zmiynoe: 4 Mi-24 and 4 Mi-8 each.

“At the same time, several small armored artillery boats of the Gyurza-M project were moving towards the island by sea. Another Mi-14 sea helicopter was cruising along the coast of Odesa region. His job was to provide evacuation if any of the stormtroopers needed it. Ours appeared, flew to the island, began work, but it turned out that the Russians had invented something unprecedented. We didn’t believe it until we saw the pictures later. Our forces destroyed their anti-aircraft defenses on the island, but dismantled “Thor” in the Crimea and tied it to the deck of some boat. And so they started shooting at us. That’s why we had to go back, – said one of the interlocutors of “UP” in GUR, who is familiar with the course of the May attack on Zmiyny. — Ukraine’s losses during the operation amounted to about 10 people and one boat. Also, all the helicopters that stormed the island returned to their bases. And by a bitter irony of fate, the helicopter, which was insured and at the head of which sat the deputy commander of the Navy Igor Bedzai, was shot down by the Russians over the territory of the Odesa region.

Colonel Igor Bedzai

Colonel Igor Bedzai is, without exaggeration, a legendary man. In 2014, he was the commander of the 10th Marine Aviation Brigade based in Saki. But after the occupation of Crimea, he managed to withdraw and preserve the combat equipment of the Ukrainian naval aviation, relocating it to Mykolaiv. After that, he and his comrades continued their service, defending Ukraine. And the brave officer did it until his last breath. The 49-year-old military man was posthumously awarded the title “Hero of Ukraine” for his personal courage and heroism, shown in the defense of the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, selfless service to the people. In addition, during his lifetime he was awarded the Order “Bohdan Khmelnytskyi” III degree, the Order “People’s Hero of Ukraine” and a prize weapon.

“My husband and I are from Nikolaev, from a family of railway workers. Igor studied in the same class with my own brother in school No. 35. Even at school, they, best friends, decided that they would be soldiers and defend Ukraine, — told “FACTS” Julia Bedzai, wife of the deceased. — In 1993, Igor graduated from the higher aviation school in Sizran and received the profession of pilot engineer. It was then that serious romantic feelings arose between us, although we had known each other for a long time, because we lived not far from each other. Moreover, even when we were small, our parents, who worked together and were friends, “courted” us.

After school, Igor served in Ochakov in military unit A4041 as a navigator-operator, helicopter commander and unit commander. During this time we got married and became the parents of two children. Ilya is already 20 years old, Maria is 16. For a long time, the man served in Novofedorovka in the Crimea, held the position of commander of a military unit. We’ve always been close. I went to serve there as a sailor in the position of senior mechanic of aviation equipment. Therefore, I well remember the spring of 2014… Then our unit was attacked by Russian soldiers with a demand to surrender our weapons and go over to the enemy’s side. The 10th brigade was the only unit in the armed forces, so the bet was that the fleet risked being left without naval aviation capable of attacking even enemy submarines. We got the kids to safety and came back. You know, my husband, without even waiting for the commander’s order, evacuated all serviceable aviation equipment to Nikolaev in radio silence mode. Of his 900 subordinates, however, only a third went with him. Others remained in Crimea. My husband always had a clear conscience and his love for his country was boundless.”

Igor Bedzai with his wife

After being transferred to Nikolaev, Igor Bedzai was a brigade commander for about five years. He created and organized the infrastructure, often flying Mi-14s and Mi-8s to the ATO zone, delivering both cargo and personnel. And in 2019, the colonel and military pilot of the first class were transferred to serve in Odessa.

“In July 2022, Igor should have turned 50, – Mrs. Julia continues. — On that date, the contract also ended, so my husband dreamed of spending more time for us and the children. It didn’t work… After a full-scale invasion, the man without thinking sits at the helm and performs combat tasks. On March 19, he came to Nikolaev for his daughter’s birthday. Then in April – for my son’s birthday. We went to see him in Odessa on Easter. They took with them a cat that he had given to his daughter the day before. I remember how on April 23rd I was preparing food in my husband’s apartment and an explosion went off. I thought it might be a plane. But Igor, with sad eyes, said no, it was a rocket. As it turned out later, it was she who ended the life of 3-month-old Kira, her mother and other people. May 7 is an annual day. The last conversation… The guy said he loves, kisses and hugs. Two hours later, his life was cut short by the occupiers.”

Igor Bedzai was buried with military honors in his native Nikolaev. On June 24, Volodymyr Zelensky named the 10th Marine Aviation Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after the Hero of Ukraine Colonel Igor Bedzai…

We remind you that the 25-year-old Ukrainian pilot Taras Redkin died heroically recently in Mykolaiv region while performing a combat mission. The pilot could have ejected, but he didn’t stop to get the plane out of the village.


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