Our Bureau
02:03 PM, October 17, 2018
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Ukrainian Su-27 flying low: Image via Ukrainian media

A Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet crashed during the ‘Clear Sky’ military exercises of NATO killing a Ukrainian and a United States pilot on Tuesday.

"A Sukhoi-27 plane crashed at around 5:00 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) during a training flight," the Ukrainian General Staff said on its Facebook page, adding, "the bodies of the two pilots have been found."

The US Air Forces in Europe and Africa issued a statement saying it was aware of "reports claiming a US casualty." The command said it "can confirm a US service member was involved in this incident.”

The circumstances of the crash are being investigated, a Ukrainian MOD statement said. The crash occurred in the Vinnytsia region, around 180 kilometers (110 miles) southwest of Kiev.

Personnel from nine nations are taking part in the Clear Sky 2018 exercises that started in Ukraine on Oct. 8 and will to run until Oct. 19. They include members of a California Air National Guard unit based in Fresno, Calif.

The US, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Netherlands, Poland and Romania are also attending NATO's aerial military exercises in western Ukraine.

Russia is accusing the US and Western European nations of intimidatory tactics as the exercise is being held in Ukraine which is not a NATO member. It is also accusing the US of using the opportunity of testing Russian weapons systems in possession of Ukraine.

Earlier reports said that the USAF and Israeli pilots tested the potential of the S-300 air defence system to track the F-35 stealth fighter jet during the exercise.

The S-300 system has recently been supplied by Moscow to Syria.

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