August 19, 2022

‘Ghost of Kiev is a superhero-legend whose character was created by Ukrainians!’

The Ukrainian military has urged people to stop spreading misinformation after being forced to admit that the “Ghost of Kyiv” is merely an urban legend.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, rumours of a fighter pilot decimating the Russian air attack have been prevalent. Such stories were widely reported on, including by us, and the Ghost is said to have racked up 40 confirmed kills.

Posting to their Facebook page, the Ukraine Air Force Command wrote: “Hero of Ukraine Stepan Tarabalka is NOT ‘Ghost of Kiev’ and he did NOT hit 40 planes.”

“On March 13, 2022, Major Stepan Tarabalka was heroically killed in an air battle with the dominant forces of the Russian occupiers,” they continued in a now-translated message. “Ghost of Kiev is a superhero-legend whose character was created by Ukrainians!”

They further explained that images are a collation of pictures from the “40th Air Force tactical aviation brigade, who protect the sky of the capital.”

Ultimately, they have encouraged “the Ukrainian community not to neglect the basic rules of information hygiene” and to “check the sources of information, before spreading it.”

In a separate Twitter post, they wrote: “The Ghost of Kyiv is alive, it embodies the collective spirit of the highly qualified pilots of the Tactical Aviation Brigade who are successfully defending Kyiv and the region.”

At the time, even Ukraine’s official Twitter account reported on the “Ghost”, writing: “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 aircraft.”

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In another post, this time alongside video footage, they wrote: “Ukraine probably not its first ace since World War II. This is the anonymous pilot of the MiG-29, nicknamed the Ghost of Kyiv.

“In the first 30 hours of the Russian invasion in February 2022, he shot down six Russian military aircraft. As of February 26, 10 military planes of the occupiers [were shot down].

“To become an ace pilot, you need to shoot down five planes. And the Ghost of Kyiv shot twice as many.”

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