Ukrainian pilot single-handedly destroys 5 Shahed drones and 2 cruise missiles before emergency ejection

A Ukrainian pilot was able to destroy five Russian drones in a single day before being forced to exit his fighter jet for technical reasons, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.

The unnamed pilot shot down three Iranian-made Shahed 136 drones in southern Ukraine and two others in the skies over the Vinnytsia region during a combat mission on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Air Force Command said in a statement.

The military leadership said they shot down two Russian cruise missiles the day before.

The pilot, who belongs to one of the Ukrainian Air Force’s tactical aviation brigades, was forced to eject from his plane after destroying the Shahed 136 drones.

“For unspecified technical reasons, the pilot began to lose control of the aircraft, but did everything possible to steer the aircraft away from Vinnytsia and launched itself,” the Ukrainian Air Force Command said in a machine-translated translation of the statement.

The pilot descended successfully and “feels good,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, their jet crashed near Vinnytsia around 9 p.m. the same day.

The causes of the accident are now being determined.

Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshuk, the head of Ukraine’s Air Force, has initiated a petition to give the pilot the title of Hero of Ukraine, the highest national title that the President of Ukraine can bestow on citizens.

Under Ukrainian law, the title can be bestowed only on civilians who have received the State Order, or on military personnel who have been awarded the Order of the Golden Star for “a notable heroic deed or a notable feat of work”.

Wednesday’s incident came as Western nations sent air defense systems into Ukraine following Russian attacks on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Monday.

Germany has delivered the first of four IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced on Twitter post.

The systems are so advanced that they have not even been used by German forces, the New York Times reported.

“Ukraine desperately needs air defense systems and artillery, and that’s exactly what Germany is providing,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told reporters in Belgium on Wednesday, ahead of a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, according to a report by German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The US has also begun speeding up shipments of two NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) units to Ukraine following recent Russian attacks.

Meanwhile, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has approved the supply of AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles) to Ukraine.

“These weapons will help Ukraine protect its skies from attack and bolster its overall missile defenses along with the US’ NASAMS,” Wallace said, according to The Guardian.

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