Ukraine Citizen Who 'Destroyed' Russian Su-34 Jet With Rifle Given Medal

A Ukraine citizen who opened fire on a Russian Su-34 jet with a rifle and "destroyed" it has been awarded a medal and branded a "hero."

The State Border Service of Ukraine announced Friday that officials had awarded "pensioner" Valeriy Fedorovych with a medal "for assistance in the protection of the state border."

Officials said that in March, when Russian President Vladimir Putin's troops continuously bombarded Chernihiv, a hard-hit city in northern Ukraine, Fedorovych "took his rifle and opened fire."

"Heroes among us," officials said, adding that after Fedorovych fired at the jet with his rifle, "the enemy fighter Su-34 was targeted and destroyed."

Ukraine citizen Valeriy Fedorovych
The State Border Service of Ukraine announced Friday that officials had awarded “pensioner” Valeriy Fedorovych, seen above, with a medal “for assistance in the protection of the state border.” The State Border Service of Ukraine

"The plane fell, and our hero received the medal 'For assistance in the protection of the state border,'" Ukraine's state border service said.

Kyiv released a short clip that shows Fedorovych with a rifle slung around his shoulder, walking through buildings destroyed by shelling as a result of Putin's invasion, which began on February 24.

"On the second lap, how did it go? I went 'bang' with my stick [rifle]. And it was like 'bang.' And it [a Russian Su-34 jet] fell," Fedorovych said in the video.

An inserted clip appears to show the moment the Russian Su-34 was hit. Cheering and clapping can be heard in the background as the plane quickly plummets.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has taken a heavy toll on Chernihiv, located about 88 miles from the capital city Kyiv. Human Rights Watch said in June that Russian troops killed and wounded multiple civilians in eight attacks in the city in early March, shortly after the war began.

"Russian forces in March repeatedly attacked populated areas in Chernihiv from the ground and air with seeming disregard for civilian loss of life," said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The failure of Ukrainian forces in some areas to remove civilians added to the casualties, but the attacker must still distinguish between civilians and combatants."

Chernihiv remains under Ukrainian control.

Fedorovych isn't the first Ukrainian civilian to be recognized for destroying Russian military equipment.

In February, Valentin Didkovskiy, 64, single-handedly destroyed a Russian gas tank with a grenade launcher.

Dubbed the "fighting grandfather," Didkovskiy told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that he was in Bucha in Ukraine's Kyiv region on February 27 when he saw approaching Russia's armed forces and decided to take action.

"I see a large column [of Russia's armed forces] coming from the direction of the Bucha station. I took a grenade launcher and grenades...I went behind the house. First, I passed the first armored personnel carrier, the second, an armored personnel carrier, a tank—and I saw a gas truck," Didkovskiy recalled in the interview published on August 2.

"It stopped, and I fired a grenade launcher. When I hit it—everything was on fire," he said.

Newsweek reached out to Russia's foreign ministry for comment.