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26 Aug. 2023

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Aviation Day: what are they like, the wings of Ukraine's independence

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Aviation Day: what are they like, the wings of Ukraine's independence

Protecting Ukraine's skies has become one of the most challenging tasks under the Russian invasion. Learn more about those who defend Ukrainian freedom in the skies and on the ground

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Every year on the last Saturday of August, Ukraine celebrates Aviation Day, a holiday that honors military and civilian pilots and aviation industry workers. Today, when a merciless war is going on in Ukraine, the nation feels extreme respect and pride for the defenders of the sky.


Let's use this day as a reason to thank the workers of the aviation industry – those who in the sky and on the earth create a protective shield for our independence and freedom. To better understand the contribution of aviators, we suggest you learn more about the history of this day, the importance of aviation in wartime, and also remember the legend of the "Ghost of Kyiv".


Why do we need to celebrate Aviation Day?


Ukrainians have been celebrating Aviation Day since 1993. Back then, the President of Ukraine established the day to support the initiative of the aviators of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Border Troops of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine, and employees of the aviation industry and transport of Ukraine.


Such holidays become an additional reason to thank the military and civilians who work for victory, honor the fallen heroes, and remember the price we pay for independence. Also, through the prism of such events, we can tell children historical facts and teach them to value the memory of heroic compatriots.




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The role of aviation in the russian-Ukrainian war


Aviation plays one of the key roles in modern wars. Thanks to the effective operation of aviation, a huge number of important military tasks are carried out: reconnaissance, evacuation of the wounded, transportation of goods and, of course, delivering fire strikes.


However, the success of these tasks is guaranteed by favorable conditions, including combat-ready equipment and a professional crew.


Another critically important mission of aviation is the protection of the sky. Having Soviet air defense systems and radars, the fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine could create an echeloned air defense system of medium and short range. It is difficult to overcome it at high and low altitudes, where targets can be intercepted by S-300 and "Buk" or portable complexes of Western production.


Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Air Force lacks combat aircraft, experienced pilots, and ground personnel. In contrast to Ukraine, the russian air force is more numerous and better equipped. However, they couldn’t carry out a full-fledged air operation and destroy Ukrainian air defense. Such a result became possible thanks to the efficient tactics chosen by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft fighters – to move the ground complexes and keep the radars on less often.


Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians have been waiting for fighter aircraft, especially American F-16. According to Kyiv's expectations, these jets would change the war's course. These aircraft can navigate a complex problem at the frontline – the activity of russian fighters.


Recently, this type of weapon remained almost the only one that categorically refused to transfer. Russia commented that the transfer of fighter jets would indicate the crossing of an imaginary "red line".


However, the world has long stopped reacting to the aggressor's threats and acts on its own motives.

In August of this year, Ukraine reached an agreement with its Western partners regarding the acquisition of American F-16s. The decision to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine was announced by Volodymyr Zelenskyi during a tour of European countries. Find out when and how many F-16 aircraft will be transferred to Ukraine via this link.


Ghost of Kyiv: A legend that supported Ukrainians


Ukrainian fighter pilots, whose numbers are many times smaller than russian ones, have become true legends. The story of the ace of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, known under the pseudonym Ghost of Kyiv contributed the most to this. The legendary pilot, who is credited with shooting down 40 enemy planes, performed an incredible feat against the backdrop of russia's dominance in the airspace. In the first days of the war, the Ukrainian authorities actively supported the legend, making the pilot an important symbolic figure.


Although the command of the Air Force of Ukraine stated on social networks that the Ghost of Kyiv is a fictional character, Ukrainians continued to support this legend. For several weeks, the identity of the Ghost of Kyiv remained mysterious, but this did not prevent him from becoming a hero in social networks.


The mysterious pilot even became a source of inspiration for a Ukrainian manufacturer of aircraft models, which used this legend as a marketing brand.


How Ukrainian aviation was preserved at the beginning of the war


No one can fight without aviation. So, in the early days of the war, it was critical to preserve resources and people to continue combating the enemy.


Mykola Oleschuk, commander of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said that on February 24, 2022, he ordered military aircraft to take off, and other aircraft that were in the airspace of the country to leave it. According to him, 20 minutes after the commander's order, there was not a single plane in the sky of Ukraine.


The military understood that the first strikes would be inflicted on airports, anti-aircraft complexes, and relevant infrastructure, so the task arose to disperse military equipment. The implemented measures turned out to be effective, as the equipment were preserved for the Armed Forces.


All Ukrainians tirelessly thank the defenders who fly in the Ukrainian sky, strengthen the wings, and let the enemy feel the power of the Ukrainian air fleet.


Feel the strength and fighting spirit of the Ukrainian military – read the incredible stories of soldiers whose determination and perseverance return them to service after severe trials.




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