The ghost of Kyiv

The unverified "ace" of the Ukrainian airforce is becoming a national hero

March 4, 2022

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, an unidentified Ukrainian fighter pilot in an MiG-29 is being credited with shooting down six Russian planes. Whether confirmed or not, the rumor is proving to be a boost of morale for Ukrainian forces.

The claims of the ace pilot (a pilot who scores five or more kills) are unverified, spreading rapidly via social media platforms. Task and Purpose reports that the first mention of the Ghost of Kyiv is “in a series of three tweets showing a lone Ukrainian fighter jet operating over the capital.” These tweets have since become viral on twitter, bringing fame to the mystery pilot with word spreading quicker by false reports of Ghost of Kyiv sightings with false video footage.

Ukraine displayed their enthusiasm with their acclaimed avation hero in a Twitter post on the country’s Twitter page saying “People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so — this UAF ace dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircrafts.” The message was accompanied by an animated clip of the pilot in action in his MiG-29 fighter jet.

Although the hearsay is encouraging, “a senior U.S. defense official told reporters on Friday that Russia had not yet achieved air superiority, and that Ukrainians ‘still have air and missile defense capability, including aircraft …  in the air that continue to engage and deny air access to Russian aircraft.’ This makes the possibility of a sole air ace out of Ukraine’s potentially 98-strong fleet of combat aircraft highly unlikely.”

The mystery of the Ghost of Kyiv remains unconfirmed with many posts on social media regarding the pilot to be fake. But, Ukraine remains hopeful: “Dozens of experienced military pilots, from captain to general, previously released from the reserve, are returning to the Air Force. Who knows, maybe one of them is the pilot of the MiG-29, which is so often seen by the people of Kyiv!”, posted by the Ukraine Defense Ministry on Twitter.

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