A Ukrainian pilot, Vadym "Karaya" Voroshylov, was named a Hero of Ukraine for a mission in which he shot down Russian drones, then ejected from his MiG-29 when it was safely clear of a nearby city. Voroshylov posted a picture on his personal Instagram which appears to show him as he parachuted from the stricken plane, his face streaked with blood from a superficial cut. Photo from Instagram.
A Ukrainian fighter pilot appears to have snapped a bloody parachute selfie seconds after he was forced to eject from his MiG-29 during a mission to hunt Russian drones.
According to an award the pilot was given this week, the pilot first steered his disabled MiG-29 clear of a nearby city before ejecting.
As he descended under his parachute, he snapped a parachute selfie.
A parachute selfie posted by a Ukrainian pilot as he ejected from his Mig-29. The blood is from a wound on his face which later pictures appear to show as superficial. Photo from Instagram.
The image, which the pilot posted to his personal Instagram on Tuesday Dec. 6, appears to capture him giving a thumbs-up despite a bloody face, with his oxygen mask still attached and parachute risers extending over his head.
The pilot appears to be Vadym "Karaya" Voroshylov, who was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine — the nation's highest honor — by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Dec. 5, according to an announcement on Zelenskyy's official Ukrainian government website.
Voroshylov posted the parachute selfie on what appears to be his personal Instagram account, writing in Ukrainian: "The flight video is very good, planes flying, rockets firing, but unfortunately there is no understanding of what is happening behind the scenes, so I decided to upload the unedited photo."
A Ukrainian Telegram channel published a picture that claimed to be XXXXXX with a bandage over the cut that caused the blood in the parachute selfie.
According to a story in Ukrainska Pravda, Zelenskyy awarded "the title of Hero of Ukraine to Vadym 'Karaya' Voroshylov, military pilot who shot down Shahed-136 kamikaze drones over the city of Vinnytsia and navigated his damaged jet away from the city."
Ukrainska Pravda reported on a crash near Vinnytsia on Oct. 12, citing a Ukrainian air force Facebook post. Those reports didn't name Voroshylov but he appears to have also posted on Instagram in October about visiting the crash site.
“On the fourth day after the [ejection] visited the scene, apologized for the created discomfort to the residents of the community, thanked for the steel nerves, the comprehensive assistance provided during the evacuation and faith in the zsu [Ukrainian Air Force]!”
A picture from October of Voroshylov, carrying the same helmet he appears to be wearing in the parachute selfie. Photo from Instagram.
The Ukrainian air force post said that Voroshylov shot down five Shahed-136 drones as they flew toward targets in Ukraine before ejecting.
The Iranian-built drones have become a symbol of the ongoing war. Russian forces have been using the exploding drones to strike past Ukrainian lines — a tactic Ukraine has labeled as terrorism as the drones hit mostly civilian targets. Their use also appears to indicate that Russian forces are running out of their own weapons capable of reaching past the front lines.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with details of the mission that ended in the parachute selfie, including the date it occurred, Oct. 12.
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Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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