An American pilot has died while taking part in a rare joint air exercise with Ukrainian forces as part of the Clear Sky 2018 operation in the western part of the country. The pilot has been identified as a US Air National Guardsman who was killed Tuesday when the Ukranian Su-27UB fighter he was co-piloting crashed in a west-central Ukraine field, according to official Ukrainian military reports. Ukraine's Su-27UB jet Military analysis site Defence-blog reports of the Ukrainian military statements: According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the bodies of two pilots were discovered: one was a pilot of the Ukrainian Air Forces, the second – a US Air Force National Guard pilot.
“We regret to inform that according to the rescue team, the bodies of two pilots have been discovered: one is a serviceman of the Ukrainian Air Force, the other is a member of the US National Guard,” it said.
We previously noted the controversial nature of the joint air exercise, as the United States now appears to be treating Ukraine as if it were a NATO member, and follows Washington donating to Ukraine two warships for use against Russia in September.
The war games include the participation of the US military and several other NATO nations, including bordering nations Poland and Romania, as well as Britain and the Netherlands.
It total it involves approximately 950 personnel from nine nations.