"Ghost of Kyiv" was a legendary Ukrainian fighter pilot.
A Ukrainian fighter pilot, known as the “Ghost of Kyiv”, was killed in a battle last month after shooting down as many as 40 Russian aircraft, the Times of London reported. The publication also identified the brave pilot as Major Stepan Tarabalka, a 29-year-old father of one, as the war hero.
The UK newspaper also said that the Tarabalka, flying a MiG-29, was shot down March 13 while battling an “overwhelming” number of enemy forces.
Also Read | "Ghost of Kyiv" Real Or Urban Legend? Some Facts About Ukraine's "Ace"
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.
Tarabalka gained worldwide fame after shooting down 10 Russian aircraft on the first day of the invasion. “People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so,” the Ukrainian government had said in a tweet last month.
Also Read | 2-Year-Old Ukrainian Dog Sniffs Out Russian Explosives, Hailed As Hero
According to the Times, Major Tarabalka was born in a working-class family of western Ukraine in a small village named by Korolivka and wanted to become a pilot since he was a child.
With the revelation of his identity, the reports that the "Ghost of Kyiv" could be an urban legend have been put to rest. His bravery served as a massive morale booster for the Ukrainian forces in the face of overwhelming odds.
Major Tarabalka's parents were quoted as saying by the Times that the Ukrainian military did not provide them with any information on his final flight or 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.”