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‘Ghost of Kyiv’ Dies After Shooting Down 40 Russian Aircraft in Russia-Ukraine War, Identity Revealed: Report
‘Ghost of Kyiv’: Media reports suggested that Stepan Tarabalka was killed when MiG-29 he was flying was shot down on March 13 while fighting the overwhelming enemy forces.
Kyiv: Widely known as the ‘Ghost of Kyiv, a Ukrainian fighter pilot was killed in battle last month after reportedly shooting down nearly 40 Russian aircraft, The Times reported on Saturday. As per the report, soon after death, his identity has been revealed as Major Stepan Tarabalka.
Media reports suggested that Stepan Tarabalka was killed when MiG-29 he was flying was shot down on March 13 while fighting the overwhelming enemy forces.
His helmet and goggles are now set to be auctioned in London, according to the report.
People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so — this UAF ace dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircrafts. pic.twitter.com/lngfaMN01I
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 27, 2022
“People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so,” the official tweet by the Ukrainian government said and added that he had “already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircraft.”
Later, Ukraine’s General Staff also tweeted another picture of the fighter pilot in the cockpit of his MiG-29 jet with his face covered, captioned, “Hello, occupier, I’m coming for your soul!”
Notably, Tarabalka was regarded as the guardian angel by the Ukrainians after the government credited him with taking down six Russian planes on the first day of the war.
During the initial days of the Russia-Ukraine war, his identity was kept under wraps. Due to the air of secrecy surrounding him, he became a fabled and enigmatic figure ‘Ghost of Kyiv’.
As per the report, Tarabalka was posthumously awarded Ukraine’s top medal for bravery in combat, the Order of the Golden Star, with the title Hero of Ukraine. Stepan Tarabalka is survived by wife Olenia and eight-year-old son Yarik.
According to The Times report, Stepan Tarabalka was born in a small village of Korolivka in western Ukraine to a working-class family. He wanted to be a pilot from his childhood as he used to see fighter jets zooming in the sky over his village.
On his death, his parents said the Ukrainian military would not give them any details of his final flight or his death. “We know he was flying on a mission. And he completed the mission, his task. Then he didn’t return. That’s all the information we have,” his father Evon told the media.
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