Eight British Hurricane fighter planes from World War Two have rusted wreckage that was discovered buried in a Ukrainian forest.
After Nazi Germany invaded the country in 1941, Britain sent the aircraft to the Soviet Union.
They were a component of a package of allied military assistance to the USSR that was funded by the US under the so-called Lend-Lease program.
The US government is currently sending military assistance to Ukraine as part of its efforts to drive Russian forces out of the country using similar legislation.
According to aviation experts, this is the first time so many Hurricanes' remains have been discovered in Ukraine.
Oleks Shtan, a former airline pilot who is in charge of the excavation, claims that it is extremely uncommon to find this type of aircraft in Ukraine. "Since no Lend-Lease aircraft have ever been discovered here, it is extremely significant for our aviation history. ".
The Royal Air Force (RAF), which thwarted German attempts to invade the UK in 1940, relied heavily on the Hawker Hurricane during the Battle of Britain. The Hurricane actually shot down more than half of all enemy aircraft during the battle, despite the fact that its role has frequently been overshadowed by the Spitfire's newer and more adaptable design.
Mr. Shtan claims that the Hurricane was a powerful, simple-to-fly machine. It was suitable for inexperienced pilots and stable enough to be used as a gun platform. a trustworthy aircraft. ".
Between 1941 and 1944, roughly 3,000 Hurricanes were delivered to the USSR to aid in the Soviet war effort. Most were either obliterated during battle or later disassembled for parts.
However, some Hurricanes were purposefully destroyed and buried after the war so that the Soviets would not be required to repay the United States. The USSR was required to pay for any donated military hardware that was still in working order after hostilities ended under the Lend-Lease legislation.
This was what happened to the eight Hurricanes that were discovered buried in a forest south of Kyiv, which is now the capital of Ukraine but was a part of the USSR until 1991.
Their equipment, including their instruments, radios, machine guns, and any usable scrap metal, had been taken away. They were then unceremoniously broken up and dragged by tractors from a nearby airfield into a small ravine. Bulldozers are thought to have later covered them with earth.
A recently discovered unexploded wartime bomb led to the discovery of the remains. Metal detectors were used to search the remainder of the ravine, and the Hurricanes were discovered.
The site is currently being painstakingly hand-excavated by the National Aviation Museum of Ukraine. The staff's goal is to identify as many parts of the aircraft as they can so they can be put back together and put on display.
According to Valerii Romanenko, the museum's director of research, the Hurricanes were significant figures in Ukrainian history.
He says, "Just as we are very appreciative of British assistance today, the Hurricanes are a symbol of British assistance during the years of the Second World War. "The UK is currently one of the biggest suppliers of military hardware to our nation. ".
"Britain was the first country to mass-supply fighter aircraft to the Soviet Union in 1941. The UK is currently the first nation to supply our armed forces with Storm Shadow cruise missiles. ".
Only 14 Hurricanes that have been restored and are currently airworthy are believed to exist.
The USSR lost many warplanes following the German invasion and was in dire need of fighter aircraft. At first, several RAF Hurricane squadrons were dispatched to assist in the Arctic.
However, the British pilots soon left, and Soviet airmen took control of the aircraft. According to records, a lot of people disliked the Hurricane because they thought it was underpowered, underarmed, and underprotected.
It was primarily employed for air defense work by the time the war ended and was regarded as obsolete. Eight Hurricanes were discovered south of Kiev, and they were used to protect important transportation hubs, particularly railway stations and intersections.