On June 14, Ukrainians pay tribute to the deceased airborne troops. 40 soldiers of the 25th Airborne Brigade of Ukraine’s Armed Forces lost their lives when Russian militants downed IL-76 transport aircraft over Luhansk airport.
In small hours of June 14, 2014, the transport was about to land at Luhansk airport, besieged by the enemy. The militants used a man-portable missile launcher, which killed all aboard, including the mentioned 40 airborne troops and nine crew members. This became the most serious combat loss of the Ukrainian Army since the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbas in April 2014.
The reason of the tragedy is poor management and ignorance of the operation’s commanding officer. Major General Viktor Nazarov who gave the order to bring the troops there faced the trial. In March 2017, the judges sentenced him to seven years behind the bars. Nazarov denies his guilt and appeals against the decision.
Ukraine's assault airborne forces proved themselves as valiant and fearless soldiers on the battlefield; they took heavy casualties during the early stages of Donbas conflict - and still completed tough missions during the conflict's most significant battles that took place in 2014 and later on. Since 2014, Ukrainian paratroopers have been marking August 2 not just as their professional holiday, but also as a day of memory for their fallen comrades who perished during the ongoing armed conflict on Donbas.