Tarabalka was captured by the Ukrainians then "God sent an angel” when the Ukrainian government reported that they shot down 6 Russian fighter jets on the very first day of the war. His identity was not made public at that time. Due to this secrecy, he was called Ghost of Kyiv. On 27 February, the Ukrainian government tweeted and wrote- ‘People call him Ghost of Kyiv. Says right. He has become a nightmare for Russian fighter jets."
posthumously received this honor
Major Tarabalka has been posthumously awarded the Order of the Golden Star, Ukraine’s highest honor for indomitable gallantry in battle. He has been given the title of Hero of Ukraine. He is survived by wife Olenia and 8-year-old son Yarik.
According to the news of the Times, Major Tarabalka was born in a working class family of a small village in Korolivka, western Ukraine. In his childhood, he had cherished the dream of becoming a pilot. He used to watch planes flying above his village.
Major Tarabalka’s parents said that the Ukrainian army did not provide any other information on her last battle or death. His father Ivan told the media, ‘We knew that he was on a flying mission and he completed his work. Then he didn’t come back. That’s the only information we have.’
Many people had also questioned whether the Ghost of Kyiv is real or a rumor fabricated by the Ukrainian government to boost morale. Major Tarabalka’s parents were also not aware of his secret status. It was only about his death that the world came to know his truth.