Ukraine’s Air Force has confirmed that the pilot who was flying a Su-24M, one of the jets shot down by Russia on Thursday, has died.
"The bomber aircraft supported offensive actions in the eastern direction, where it struck enemy positions. After completing its combat mission, it was hit by a missile," Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat was quoted as saying by Ukrinform.
The crew decided to return to their base, but crashed in the Poltava region. Two pilots ejected, but one of them died.
The pilot destroyed five Iran-made Shahed-136 loitering munitions, including three in southern Ukraine and two over Vinnytsia. And the day before, during multiple missile strikes, he shot down two Russian cruise missiles.
Meanwhile, Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, said its military destroyed two other Ukrainian jets – MiG-29 and a Su-27 – on Thursday.
"Fighter aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down a MiG-29 of the Ukrainian Air Force near the village of Chervony Zaporozhets in the Dnepropetrovsk region," Konashenkov said. "Russian air defense systems shot down a Su-27 of the Ukrainian Air Force near the village of Porskalivka, Poltava region.”