Ukrainian Air Force denies claims of ghost of Kiev pilot

Ukrainian Air Force denies claims of ghost of Kiev pilot

After officials gave credence to the tale, the Ukrainian Air Force dispelled rumors about the mythical fighter pilot.

Kiev's air force said in a statement that the fabled ghost of Kiev fighter ace alleged to have shot down scores of Russian aircraft over Ukraine was nothing more than a legend, even though media outlets claimed to have identified the fictional pilot.

The Ukrainian Air Force Command took to social media over the weekend to urge users not to fill the infospace with fakes and to check the sources of information before disseminating it, debunking a number of rumors making the rounds online.

The air force said that the ghost of Kiev is not the ghost of Ukraine and he did not hit 40 planes, and that The Ghost of Kiev is a superhero-legend whose character was created by Ukrainians! The military said that the Ghost of Kiev moniker is merely a collective image of the pilots of the 40th Brigade of Tactical Aviation who protect the sky of the capital and suddenly appear where they are not expected. The air force also rejected other recent claims and rumors in its statement, insisting that local pilots are not being trained abroad to fly US-made F-16 s, and that American bombers do not fly over Ukraine. The Times of London claimed to have identified the Ghost as Major Stepan Tarabalka, citing unnamed Ukrainian sources. While the outlet reported that he died last month, the military had already acknowledged the major s death in a public statement on March 23, saying nothing of the extraordinary feats attributed to the Ghost of Kiev. The Ukrainian government helped give credibility to the mythical fighter pilot, sharing a tweet in February, boasting that the Ghost dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircraft. The video accompanying the post stated that the pilot had shot down 10 planes six of them within the first 30 hours of Moscow's military operation. It added that the pilot's identity is still unknown. After Ukraine s Defense Ministry shared footage purported to show a dog fight with a Russian craft, signs that something might be wrong with the Ghost of Kiev story, which many social media users went on to portray as the Ghost in action. The video clip was later determined to be inauthentic, instead showing footage from a video game combat simulator. The same game has been used to make other videos falsely portrayed as real-life fighting in Ukraine.