17 Oct 2018 10:17

Aviation commander of Ukraine's Vostok Air Command dies in Su-27 crash

KYIV. Oct 17 (Interfax) - The Sukhoi Su-27UB fighter jet that crashed in the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine on Tuesday belonged to the 831st tactical aviation brigade stationed in Myrhorod in the Poltava region; the crash killed Col. Ivan Petrenko, the aviation commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Vostok Air Command, the press service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement.

"The plane crashed on a field near Ulaniv at about 5 p.m. on October 16. The pilots' bodies have been found. Col. Ivan Petrenko, aviation commander of the Vostok Air Command, was the captain," the statement posted on Facebook early on Wednesday morning, said.

The press service said that Petrenko was trained as an instructor and had a full course of combat training, which prepared him to operate day and night in any weather conditions.

The Armed Forces command said it would release information about the co-pilot later.

According to it, the Su-27UB with tail number 70 belonged to the 831st tactical aviation brigade stationed in Myrhorod in the Poltava region.

The Su-27UB fighter aircraft came down near the village of Ulaniv in Khmelnytskyi district, Vinnytsia region, Ukraine, at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The plane took off from an air base in Starokostiantyniv for a practice flight as part of the Clear Sky 2018 exercise.

The Sukhoi Su-27 incident in Ukraine involved a U.S. serviceman, the United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa said in a statement.

"We have seen reports claiming a U.S. casualty and can confirm a U.S. service member was involved in this incident," the statement said.

"It is currently under investigation and we will continue to provide more information as it becomes available," it said.

It did not say how exactly the U.S. serviceman was involved in the incident. Nor did it clarify the fate of the U.S. pilot.

Ukrainian military prosecutors have launched an inquiry.

Both pilots are believed to be dead. One of them was a U.S. Air National Guard serviceman, the prosecutor's office said, before deleting this information.

The Clear Skies 2018 international exercise is taking place in Ukraine's Vinnytsia and Khmelnytskyi regions on October 8-19.