What is the identity of the 'Ghost of Kyiv'? The story of a Ukrainian ace pilot has gone viral

Unconfirmed tales of a legendary Ukrainian fighter pilot have gone viral, with social media users christening him the 'Ghost of Kyiv.'

With the Ghost of Kyiv — and their MiG-29 Fulcrum — allegedly downing as many as six Russian jets on the first day of battle, the Ghost of Kyiv — and their MiG-29 Fulcrum — immediately became folk heroes in a war that was being closely followed online.

Ukrainian officials have yet to corroborate the reports, and the rumor is very certainly incorrect. Misinformation and propaganda continue to plague the battle, as a video purporting to show evidence of the Ghost turned out to be from a computer game.

According to one widely circulated report, the Ghost of Kyiv 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 planes, known as Su-25 Frogfoots.

MIG-29 fighter aircrafts fly at a military air base in Vasylkiv, Ukraine
MIG-29 fighter aircrafts fly at a military air base in Vasylkiv, Ukraine./ REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Soldiers look at the debris of a military plane that was shot down overnight in Kiev, Ukraine, 25 February 2022.
Soldiers look at the debris of a military plane that was shot down overnight in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 25, 2022./ EPA.

As one Twitter user pointed out, such a kill count would stretch the ammunition capacity of the Soviet-era MiG-29.

russia-ukraine crisis map
Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Feb. 25, 2022.

Regardless, the Ghost of Kyiv appears to have met a need. Many people on social media believed that the legend of an ace fighter pilot repelling the Russian invasion was valuable in and of itself.

"Whether true or not, this is EXACTLY the kind of uplifting narrative the resistance needs right now," one person said.

Ukrainian officials announced Thursday that their forces had shot down seven Russian planes and six Russian helicopters.

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