Ukraine denies legend of The Ghost of Kyiv

Ukraine denies legend of The Ghost of Kyiv

He shot down numerous Russian planes, survived enemy attacks and became a symbol of Ukraine's surprisingly effective air defenses, earning a bold wartime moniker: The Ghost of Kyiv.

He is also a myth.

The ghost of Kyiv is a super hero whose character was created by Ukrainians! Ukraine's Air Force Command wrote on Saturday, dispelling a monthslong rumor that had invigorated the resistance to Russia's invasion, dispelled a monthlong rumor fueled by Ukrainian authorities themselves.

The Ukrainian statement came after some news outlets, including Times of London, identified the Ghost of Kyiv as Major Stepan Tarabalka, an actual 29-year-old who died in an air battle in March. The claim was echoed across social media and tabloid papers in Ukraine and the West, seeming to confirm that the story of the heroic fighter was real.

It has turned out to be one of the more successful pieces of propaganda in an information war that Ukraine has fought so fiercely on the battlefield.