California Air National Guard member killed in Ukrainian fighter jet crash

California Air National Guard member killed in Ukrainian fighter jet crash
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The Air Force on Wednesday said that a California Air National Guard member and a Ukrainian service member were killed in a Ukrainian fighter crash on Tuesday during a military exercise in the country.

The U.S. airman, from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif., was taking part in the multi-national Clear Sky exercise when the Su-27UB fighter aircraft he was in crashed around 5 p.m. local time in the Khmelnytskyi region of Ukraine, U.S. Air Forces in Europe said in a statement.

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"This is a sad day for the United States and Ukraine," said Maj. Gen. Clay Garrison, the California Air National Guard commander and Clear Sky exercise director. "Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and fellow airmen of both the U.S. airman and Ukrainian aviator who were killed in the incident."

The statement notes that the airman was taking part in a “single-aircraft familiarization flight with a Ukrainian counterpart,” and that “no other aircraft were involved in the incident.”

The service is withholding the name of the service member for 24 hours pending next of kin notification. 

“The U.S. and Ukrainian governments are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the accident,” U.S. Air Forces in Europe added.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe first said Tuesday that a U.S. airman had been involved in the crash.

Clear Sky is a first-time exercise that involves roughly 950 military personnel from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The exercise began Oct. 8 and will conclude this week.