Ukraine has suffered a setback against the Russian aggression as one of its brave pilot dubbed as ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ was killed last month according to the report published in Times of London.The identity of the pilot was revealed as Stepan Tarabalka.
According to media reports, he was killed when the MiG-29 he was flying was shot down on March 13 while fighting “overwhelming” enemy forces.
🕯13 березня 2022 року під час повітряного бою з переважаючими силами 🇷🇺 загарбників «пішов у небо» майор Степан Тарабалка.
⁰🎖За захист повітряного простору, доблесть і відвагу майору Степану Тарабалці присвоєно звання «Герой України» (посмертно). pic.twitter.com/otjqT32ZP4
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) March 25, 2022
Ukrainian officials confirmed the death of the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’, saying that pilot Major Stepan Tarabalka was killed during the war last month. The Ukrainian officials said that the brave pilot has shot down 40 Russian jets before he was killed by the Russian forces.
“People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so,” the official tweet by the Ukrainian government said, adding that he had “already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircraft.”
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
The fighter pilot was posthumously awarded Ukraine’s top medal for bravery in combat, the Order of the Golden Star, according to his family quoted by the Times. He was also given the title of the Hero of Ukraine.
His helmet and goggles are now set to be auctioned in London, according to the Times.
According to The Times, Major Tarabalka and was born in the small village of Korolivka in western Ukraine to a working-class family. He had wanted to be a pilot since he was a small child, as he used to see fighter jets zooming in the sky over his village.
Major Tarabalka’s 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.
Many had questioned whether the Ghost of Kyiv was real, wondering if he was a morale-boosting myth spawned by the Ukrainian government. Even Tarabalka’s parents had been unaware of his covert status. Sadly, it was only after his death that the world discovered the truth. Though the man is gone, his legend will endure.