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‘Ghost of Kyiv’ war hero dies in battle after shooting down 40 Russian aircraft

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A Ukrainian fighter pilot known as the Ghost of Kyiv was killed in battle last month after reportedly shooting down as many as 40 Russian aircraft, The Times reported.

After his death, the identity of the mysterious airman was revealed as Major Stepan Tarabalka, 29. 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.

Tarabalka was hailed as a “guardian angel” by Ukrainians after the government credited him with taking down six Russian planes on the first day of the war. At that time, his identity was still under wraps. Perhaps due to the air of secrecy surrounding him, he became a fabled and enigmatic figure the Ghost of Kyiv.

“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.”

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