Who is the “ghost of Kyiv”? Tale of trends of Ukrainian fighter pilots on social networks

Ukrainian troops patrol the town of Novoluhanske in eastern Ukraine on February 19, 2022. (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Social media is buzzing with unconfirmed claims that a single fighter pilot – dubbed the “Ghost of Kyiv” – shot down six Russian planes.

Twitter users on Friday shared videos of a MiG-29 fighter jet flying through the sky Ukrainewhich elicited many reactions on social networks.

@KhaledEibid wrote “This Ukrainian pilot is becoming a legend in Kyiv, he successfully challenged 6 Russian pilots alone. They call him the “ghost of Kyiv”. #UkraineInvasion#Ukrainian.”

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“We are the hero, the hero of Ukraine #ghostofkyiv“, @Danielgaay wrote on Twitter.

A “flying ace” is a fighter pilot who has shot down at least five enemy aircraft, a feat not seen in Europe since World War II.

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FILE: Ukrainian MIG-29 fighters (NATO reporting name “Fulcrum”) take part in practical flights to fulfill the combat duty system during exercises at the Air Force military base. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Ghost of Kyiv is my new favorite Ace Combat protagonist,” @NoobPTFO wrote.

@abhinavsoni83 added: “A new hero arises. A warrior who shot down 6 enemy planes in a single day, making him the premier flying ace of the 21st century and earning him the nickname ‘The Ghost of Kyiv’.” #ghostofkyiv #UkraineInvasion #UkraineFree

Another one twitter user said: “Whoever the ghost of Kyiv is, I salute him. And to everyone in Ukraine, we are with you.”

At least one of the viral videos has already been debunked by Snopes.com like a video game simulation.

While the Ghost of Kyiv can’t be substantiated – it’s unclear how many Russian planes were shot down, or how many Ukrainian pilots were actually involved – it seems this urban myth has spawned a hero for some in the midst of the crisis. ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Thousands of Ukrainians crossed into neighboring countries to the west in search of safety as Russia pounded its capital and other cities with airstrikes for a second day.

Most of those who arrived on Friday were women, children and the elderly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday banned men of military age from leaving the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 137 “heroes”, including 10 military officers, had been killed. The Ukrainian military said it killed more than 1,000 Russian soldiers repelling the invasion of Moscow. The Russian military reported no casualties in the attack. Neither claim could be independently verified.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, DC

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