After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, unconfirmed reports about a Ukrainian pilot, dubbed the the "ghost of Kyiv”, emerged on social media. Many people claimed that he had shot down several Russian planes.Many Twitter users shared an unverified video, claiming to show the pilot in combat. Others did not outright believe the videos but hoped for them to be true.
Ukrainian pilot who is 6-0 shoots down a Russian Su-35 with his Mig-29. He’s been nicknamed the ghost of Kyiv, and is the first pilot since WW2 to achieve ace status! pic.twitter.com/WsoadzLrdQ
— Olegi21 (@ItsOlegi21) February 25, 2022
#Ukraine Video of a old Soviet-era Ukraine Mi-29 shooting down Russia’s most advanced Su-35 fighter jet. Ukraine’s Air Force is still in the fight. pic.twitter.com/zf9oZ1r2wt pic.twitter.com/Jq3Da7GG6A
— AdebayorJNR (@Victori05276372) February 25, 2022
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shared what he claimed to be a photo of the pilot.
“He causes terror in enemies and pride in Ukrainians,” Porshenko tweeted. He has 6 victories over Russian pilots! With such powerful defenders, Ukraine will definitely win!”
But fact-checkers have found that videos of the “ghost of Kyiv” are not real. Fact-checking website Snopes has found that it was made using a simulation game.
The video was originally uploaded on YouTube by an account named Comrade Corb.
"This footage is from DCS (the game), but is nevertheless made out of respect for the Ghost of Kiev. If he is real, may God be with him; if he is fake, I pray for more like him," the account user said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine, after months of simmering tensions between the two countries.
Missiles and shelling targeted cities in Ukraine shortly after the announcement. Explosions occurred in Ukraine's capital Kyiv and several other cities, forcing panicked residents to take shelter in basements and subway stations. Many were seen trying to escape to safer areas.Russia's aggression has triggered protests across the world.