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Heroic Ukrainian soldier blows himself up with a bridge to stop Russian tanks

By Alma Fabiani

Mar 2, 2022

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A heroic Ukrainian soldier blew himself up with a bridge in order to stop Russian troops from advancing further, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Sharing the news on their Facebook page, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Skakun Vitaliy Volodymyrovych took up a position on the Henichesk Bridge near Crimea when Russian tanks were advancing. After realising that he would not be able to get out in time before the explosion, the soldier allegedly took the decision to stay down and ensure that the bridge was destroyed, whatever the cost.

Ukrainian Armed Forces have since called him a hero who sacrificed his life for his country.

The translated post read: “On this difficult day for our country, when the Ukrainian people are repelling the Russian occupiers in all directions, one of the most difficult places on the map of Ukraine was the Isthmus of Perekop, where a separate marines battalion was one of the first to meet the enemy.”

Quoting the same force, Euromaidan Press wrote on Twitter: “To stop the advance of the tank column, the decision was to blow up the Henichesk bridge. The engineer Skakun Vitaliy volunteered to perform this task. He mined the bridge but couldn’t leave and blew it up together with himself.”

His comrades reported that they heard Vitaliy planning to blow up the bridge, and then heard an immediate explosion. The general staff statement continued, “Our comrade died. His heroic deed significantly slowed the enemy’s advance, which allowed the unit to redeploy and organise the defence.”

The statement also confirmed that Vitaliy will be considered for a state military award, “The Marine Command will apply to the High Command to award the state award to sailor Skakun Vitaliy Volodymyrovych.”

It finished by stating: “Russian invaders, know, under your feet the earth will burn! We will fight as long as we live! And as long as we are alive we will fight!”

Despite the soldier’s sacrifice, it is believed that the area has now been seized by Russian forces. The invasion, which started in the early hours of Thursday 24 February, went on for a second day, with Russian forces moving towards Kyiv, meeting heavy resistance along the way.

Sadly, recent footage showed tanks arriving in the capital. Ukraine’s government has banned men aged between 18 and 60 years old from leaving the area and has asked that anyone who is willing and able to take up arms against the invaders should do so.

The ‘Ghost of Kyiv’: Who is the fighter pilot who allegedly shot 10 Russian jets in one day?

By Alma Fabiani

Mar 1, 2022

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Footage of a mysterious Ukrainian fighter pilot has been going viral on social media after Russia began invading Ukraine on Thursday 24 February 2022. Credited with shooting down ten Russian jets on the first day of the invasion, the pilot is said to have flown a Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft on his way to becoming an ace—a pilot who scores five or more kills.

Serving as a crucial morale booster for the Ukrainian forces and citizens alike in the face of war, the unverified story surrounding the pilot has quickly grown in popularity on social media platforms like TikTok and Facebook. But who really is the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’?

Many military analysts have already said that the pilot would likely turn out to be an urban legend, yet many netizens have tried presenting proof that he exists. One recurring argument comes in the form of a tweet posted by an account that cites itself as Ukraine’s ‘official’ Twitter page on 27 February, which reads: “People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so—this UAF ace dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircraft.”

The post is accompanied by the very same video which has been making rounds on social media platforms. While many would expect an official government account to only post verified news, it could be argued that the country’s cause could still benefit from the ‘news’ surrounding the rumoured pilot. The Ghost of Kyiv is a crucial morale booster, remember?

Let’s not be too quick to write off the whole myth as fact-checking website Snopes stated that the pilot and their aircraft could in fact still be real, however, the video showing a brutal fight in which a Ukrainian jet shoots down a Russian aircraft is most definitely fake—with the footage said to be from the 2008 video game Digital Combat Simulator (DCS).

Though the now-viral video does not feature genuine footage, the general of the Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed that they had truly downed several Russian aircraft sky high. Reporting on the matter, CNN wrote, “The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has claimed five Russian aircraft and a helicopter were shot down early Thursday, as Russian forces attacked Ukraine. The Russian military has denied the claims, state news agency TASS reported on Thursday.”

 

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