An apparent Ace fighter pilot who the media has dubbed “The Ghost of Kyiv” offers inspiration and hope to his fellow Ukrainians who continue to stave off a bloody invasion by Russian troops.
According to unconfirmed reports, “The Ghost” has supposedly downed as many as six Russian planes in the first day of combat. Ukraine’s apparent “Top Gun” flying one of their MiG-29 Fulcrums has quickly become a folk hero in a war breathlessly watched online.
While inspiring, reports of the Ghost of Kyiv” are most likely false. The war remains rife with misinformation and propaganda, and a video purporting to be evidence of the Ghost turned out to instead be footage from a video game.
According to one widely circulated post, the Ghost of Kyiv supposedly shot down four Russian fighter jets — two Su-35 Flankers, one Su-27 Flanker, and one MiG-29 Fulcrum — as well as two ground-attack aircraft, so-called Su-25 Frogfoots.
However, military experts have tweeted that such a feat is impossible, exceeding the munitions capacity of the Soviet-era MIG-29 flown by The Ghost.
Regardless of whether he is real or not, the Ghost of Kyiv seems to have fulfilled a need. Many on social media argued the legend of an ace fighter pilot holding off the Russian advance was useful in its own right.
“True or not, this is EXACTLY the kind of inspiring story the resistance needs right now,” one user said.
Officially the Ukrainian Department of Defense has said that since the fighting began, they have downed seven Russian planes in total, along with six Russian helicopters.