'Zaporizhzhia Avenger' shoots down sixth Russian bomber

Ukrainian conscript, 19, dubbed the Zaporizhzhia Avenger ‘shoots down his SIXTH Russian jet with portable missile launcher’

  • Ukrainian National Guard soldier, 19, is racking up kills with anti-air missiles 
  • Teenager, dubbed ‘Zaporizhzhia Avenger’ claims to have taken out his sixth jet 
  • Su-25 bomber was shot down in the Zaporizhzhia region on Sunday, Kyiv claims
  • In addition to taking out jets, the teen also claims to have shot a cruise missile 

A Ukrainian soldier dubbed the ‘Zaporizhzhia Avenger’ has taken out six Russian jets using a mobile anti-air launcher, it has been claimed.

The 19-year-old, a member of the National Guard, shot down an Su-25 bomber in the Zaporizhzhia region on Sunday, according to military chiefs.

‘The National Guard solider… is protecting the Ukrainian sky in the Zaporizhzhya direction and mercilessly beats the enemy in the air with his faithful “girlfriend” PZRK Igla,’ a press release said, using the name for a Russian anti-air rocket launcher.

A 19-year-old Ukrainian national guard soldier (pictured) has shot down six Russian bombers using a portable missile launcher, Kyiv has claimed

In addition to shooting down the six jets, the ‘Avenger’ has also taken down one Russian cruise missile, commanders claimed.

‘Avenger’ began his killing spree back in May, when he shot down three Su-25 jets that month alone, according to local media.

That led to him being awarded the highest honour the president can bestow – the Hero of Ukraine. 

Since being created in 1998, the award has been handed out to just 650 people.

‘I will destroy [Russian jets] for as long as necessary – until our victory,’ the soldier told Ukrayinska Pravda at the time.

It is hardly the first tale of heroism to emerge from the battlefields of Ukraine.

Back in February, a pilot dubbed the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ was credited with shooting down 10 Russian jets in three days while defending the city.

The double-ace supposedly flew an MiG-29 Fulcrum and shot down two Su-35s, two Su-25s, a Su-27, and a МіG-29 within 30 hours of the invasion.

Rumours about the ‘ghost’ persisted for months – and were even indulged by the Security Service of Ukraine – before the air force admitted he didn’t really exist.

‘The ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend, whose character was created by Ukrainians,’ the force said on its Facebook page.

Had the pilot existed, he would have been the first ace of the 21st century.

Other feats of heroism to take on near-mythic status including the Ukrainian marine who blew himself up while destroying a bridge near Kherson to stop the Russians.

The soldier has been dubbed the ‘Zaporizhzhia Avenger’ after the area of Ukraine where he operates, and has been given the country’s highest award

Vitaliy Volodymyrovych Skakun was tasked with booby-trapping the Henichesky Bridge, near Crimea, to stop the Russians moving tanks across it.

He succeeded in strapping explosives to the structure, but could not escape the blast radius in time before Russian tanks reached it.

In Skakun’s last message to his comrades, he said he would be blowing the bridge anyway – killing him but stopping the tanks.

And, on Snake Island, a group of Ukrainian defenders wrote themselves into history by telling an approaching Russian warship to ‘go f*** yourself’.

It was initially thought all 18 soldiers on the island had subsequently been killed in a strike that followed, but it later turned out they had been captured. 

Roman Hrybov, who was recorded uttering the now-infamous phrase, was traded back to Ukraine in a prisoner swap and given a medal for bravery.

The Moskva – the ship filmed giving the order – has since been sunk, while the island itself is now back under Ukrainian control. 

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