An American pilot died Tuesday in Ukraine during a crash that also claimed the life of a Ukrainian pilot.
The U.S. Air Force command said the American was one of two personnel aboard an Su-27 fighter jet when it crashed about 200 miles west of the capital city of Kiev, Fox News reported.
“We have seen reports claiming a U.S. casualty and can confirm a U.S. service member was involved in this incident,” the U.S. military said in a statement.
“We are aware of a Ukrainian Su-27UB fighter aircraft that crashed in the Khmelnytskyi region during Clear Sky 2018 today. The incident is currently under investigation and do not have any other information to provide at this time,” the statement added.
Ukrainian military prosecutors say the Sukhoi-27 that crashed with an American on board had tail number 70. I took this photo of the 2-seater last week: pic.twitter.com/mG48CLDhuG
— Lucian Kim (@Lucian_Kim) October 16, 2018
“Around 17.00, in the district of Ulan, between the settlements of Berdychiv and Khmilnyk, the airplane of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Su-27UB fell during the training and combat flight. We regret to report that, according to the search and rescue group, the bodies of two pilots were found,” the post said.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine express their condolences to the families of the victims,” the post added.
The Ukrainian News Agency reported that Ukrainian officials said the American was a National Guard pilot. There was no confirmation of that report as of Tuesday afternoon.
Source: Ukrainian Military And Serviceman Of U.S. National Guard Found Dead Following Crash Of Ukraine's Su-27 Fighter In Vinnytsia Region https://t.co/f1MjhgqR7j
— Ukrainian News (@UN_Agency) October 16, 2018
Clear Sky 2018 is a joint training exercise of Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States, according to an Air Force news release.
During the exercise, Polish and Romanian aircraft trained with Ukrainian aircraft in “the first time” the nations worked in unity “in the air to protect the airspace,” Ukraine Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat was quoted by The Defense Post as saying
The training exercise included aircraft and personnel from the California Air National Guard, Illinois Air National Guard, 100th Air Refueling Wing, 48th Fighter Wing, and units operating out of Miroslawiec Air Force Base in Poland.
The military said units from Pennsylvania Maryland, Ohio, New York, Alaska, Washington and other U.S. bases in Europe were scheduled to participate.
“Training will focus on air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery,” the Air Force said.
“This exercise aims to enhance regional capabilities to secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration and interoperability with NATO partners and other allies in the region,” the Air Force said.
The United States has been increasing its military support for Ukraine as a counterweight to Russian aggression that saw parts of eastern Ukraine occupied during the Obama administration.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.