Russia has stopped using the Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones against Ukraine, with stocks drying up in recent times. However, a Ukrainian pilot who earned the ‘Shahed Killer’ tag is suddenly in the limelight.
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On the occasion of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Day on December 6, a pilot of the Ukrainian Air Force, Vadym Voroshilov, who sports the call sign – Karaya – posted a photo of his bloody face on the social media networking site Instagram.
The image was taken before the pilot ejected from his MiG-29 fighter jet, shot down in Vinnytsia in aerial combat. Soon after it appeared on Instagram, the photograph went viral online, and the pilot was hailed as a “true hero” by netizens.
Karaya wrote a caption in the Ukrainian language along with the photograph that said, “December 6 Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Let me put it bluntly. No one and nothing can break us! The Defense Forces of Ukraine stand to protect not only our State, they stand to protect the whole civilized world, it is a shield that protects the western world from the horde that leaves only chaos and destruction behind! But this protection is very expensive for the sons of Ukraine, so it needs to be understood and remembered!
Photo of pilot Vadym "Karaya" Voroshilov, who shot down 5 "Shahed" drones and 2 missiles over Vinnytsia Oblast on October 12
Then the plane has been damaged and Vadim had to eject pic.twitter.com/l62MWPkgPv
— Ukrainska Pravda in English (@pravda_eng) December 7, 2022
Explaining why he was posting a photo of his bloody face on the occasion, he further added, “On the video from the flights, everything is very good, the planes are flying, the rockets are firing back, but, unfortunately, there is no understanding of what is happening behind the scenes, so I decided to post the photo without editing.” Voroshilov runs his own YouTube channel, where he frequently posts videos of flights.
The pilot rose to fame after hunting down Iranian-origin kamikaze drones. Russia started deploying the Shahed-136 widely in October after the Crimean bridge attack. As per reports in Ukraine’s local media, the pilot’s superb defense of the sky over the Vinnytsia region in October earned him the moniker “Shahed Killer.”
This is the 🇺🇦 pilot who is defending the skies over Vinnytsia. He has already shot down 5 "shaheds" and 2 missiles.
The hero's name is Vadym. pic.twitter.com/iFZGxZsQqf
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) October 15, 2022
In a week, Vadym reportedly managed to hit five enemy drones and two missiles. When the MiG-29 he was piloting was shot down, Vadym maneuvered it away from a crowded location before ejecting.
The feat resulted in a head and neck injury. However, the pilot was awarded the Order for Courage of the third class.
The glorification of the pilot is reminiscent of the ‘Ghost of Kyiv,’ a myth created by the Ukrainian Air Force that effectively became a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance in the initial months of the invasion.
Before Karaya, a Ukrainian fighter pilot that goes by the call sign ‘JUICE’ had hogged the limelight for his combat successes.
Putin Is Not Backing Down
In a recent communication, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the conflict in Ukraine might become a “long-term process.” On December 7, Putin attempted to defend against an invasion in which Russian troops were forced to retreat, and even airbases deep inside Russia were attacked.
He was speaking to members of his personal human rights council.
The latest missile attacks came after this week’s attacks on three Russian air bases. In the attacks using modified Soviet-era drones, Russia lost at least one Tu-95 strategic bomber while a few other aircraft suffered minor damage. In retaliation, Moscow has intensified attacks against Kyiv.
According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Washington has neither encouraged nor permitted the Ukrainians to attack deep inside the Russian territory, but it is steadfastly committed to ensuring that Kyiv has the equipment necessary to defend itself.
On its part, Ukraine has claimed that Ruthe Russian missile stockpile is nearing exhaustion, and the country has missiles left only for a few strikes. According to reports, Iranian ballistic missiles supposed to bolster Russia’s offensive have not been delivered due to some Tehran policy considerations.
In addition, Russia has also run out of the Iranian Shahed-136 drones that have not been spotted in combat for weeks. Yuri Ignat, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said, “It’s been three weeks since Ukrainian air defense forces have seen the loitering drones of the Shahed-type.”
However, this has not made the defending Ukrainian troops and its allies in the west complacent. Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, warned that Russia is trying to “freeze” the conflict in Ukraine throughout the winter into ready to launch another attack early next year and urged the allies to maintain a regular supply of military aid to Kyiv.
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