On social media, the “Ghost of Kyiv” was a army hero, an ace fighter pilot hailed for supposedly taking pictures down a number of Russian planes. The tales started simply days into the battle and circulated for months, bolstered by official Ukrainian accounts.
However on Saturday, Ukrainian authorities admitted that the legendary pilot was a fable.
“The Ghost of Kyiv is a super-hero legend whose character was created by Ukrainians!” Ukraine’s air power mentioned in Ukrainian on Fb.
The assertion got here after a number of media retailers revealed tales wrongly figuring out Main Stepan Tarabalka as the person behind the moniker. Tarabalka was an actual pilot who died on March 13 throughout air fight and was posthumously awarded the title Hero of Ukraine, Ukraine’s air power mentioned final month.
However he was not the Ghost of Kyiv, the power mentioned in Saturday’s assertion.
“The details about the demise of the The Ghost of #Kyiv is inaccurate,” Ukraine’s air power wrote in a separate post Saturday on Twitter. “The #GhostOfKyiv is alive, it embodies the collective spirit of the extremely certified pilots of the Tactical Aviation Brigade who’re efficiently defending #Kyiv and the area.”
‘A nightmare for invading Russian aircrafts’
The legend emerged only a day after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, as social media customers started to unfold claims, with out proof, of an nameless fighter pilot who had single-handedly taken down a number of Russian planes.
Memes, unrelated images, and even footage from a flight simulator online game circulated on social media, claiming to point out the Ghost of Kyiv throughout fight.
On Feb. 25, former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko tweeted a photograph that Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence had shared three years earlier, falsely claiming it confirmed the Ghost of Kyiv who had taken down six Russian pilots.
Two days later, Ukraine’s official Twitter account shared a video together with the identical image, together with footage of fighter jets in fight, set to pulsating music, with the caption: “Individuals name him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so — this UAF ace dominates the skies over our capital and nation, and has already turn into a nightmare for invading Russian aircrafts.”
That very same day, Ukraine’s Safety Service, the SBU, shared the identical previous photograph on Telegram — however now claiming he had shot down 10 occupying planes.
By the point information retailers, together with the Instances of London, falsely recognized the pilot as Tarabalka on Friday, reviews had elevated the ghost’s toll to 40 planes. The Instances later up to date its story to mirror the air power’s new place on the Ghost of Kyiv.