A Ukrainian pilot who died in Ukraine’s partially Russian-occupied Donetsk province last week while trying to divert his shot aircraft from a residential area was posthumously nominated for his country’s highest national title.
Danylo Murashko, a commander in the Ukrainian Air Force’s 299th Tactical Aviation Brigade, was shot down by an enemy fighter while performing a combat mission with another Ukrainian aircraft in the Kramatorsk district Friday, the unit announced in a Facebook post.
The 24-year-old native of Ukraine’s Chernihiv province, then holding the rank of captain, allegedly attempted to steer his plane away from the nearby village of Shabelkivka’s residential buildings until the last second despite the low altitude of his flight.
However, Murashko ended up being unable to safely eject after losing altitude, his unit said.
Murashko “died a hero’s death,” the brigade said in its post.
Murashko is survived by his wife. A farewell event for the deceased aviator was scheduled to take place Monday, the council of his home city of Nizhyn said in a statement.
It is unclear what aircraft Murashko was flying at the time of his death, but the 299th Tactical Aviation Brigade, which is named after the late Lt. Gen. Vasyl Nikiforov, the former deputy commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, is known to operate variants of the Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack jet.
Murashko was posthumously awarded the rank of major. He was also nominated for the “Hero of Ukraine” title, the highest national title that Ukraine’s president can bestow to citizens.
Under Ukrainian law, the title can only be granted to civilians who received the Order of the State or to members of the military who were given the Order of the Gold Star for “a remarkable heroic act or remarkable labor achievement.”
Prior to his death, Murashko was awarded all three grades of the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky.
The military award is only bestowed to citizens “for special merits in the protection of state sovereignty, territorial integrity and in strengthening the defense capability and security of Ukraine.”
Murashko carried out a total of 141 sorties between the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year and his death, his unit said.
He reportedly destroyed about 600 enemy personnel, 70 armored vehicles, more than 80 motor vehicles and 30 tankers.