Ukrainian authorities have admitted that “Ghost of Kyiv”, the legendary fighter pilot hailed for many successes in the war against Russia, is a myth. The acknowledgement came from Ukraine’s Air Force Command on Facebook.
As per the message posted on the social media platform said on Saturday, “We ask the community of Ukraine not to neglect the basic rules of information hygiene, urging people to check the information, before spreading it.”
Ukraine’s Air Force Command further added, “The ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend, whose character was created by Ukrainians!”
It came following several reports, and state media agencies have identified the legendary, mysterious, hero fighter as 29-year-old Major Stepan Tarabalka, who has shot down 40 Russian fighter jets. The Ukrainian authorities had earlier confirmed that he was killed in combat on March 13 and honoured with a Hero of Ukraine medal posthumously.
But, the country’s air force command has now stressed that “Tarabalka is not “Ghost of Kyiv”, and he did not hit 40 planes.”
The Ukrainian military officials said the “Ghost of Kyiv” moniker belongs to all the hero pilots of the country.
The Ukrainian Air Force mentioned in a tweet, “The #GhostOfKyiv is alive, it represents the collective spirit of the well-qualified pilots of the Tactical Aviation Brigade who are successfully defending #Kyiv & the region.”
The legend arose just a day after Russia called a full-scale military operation against Ukraine on February 24, when several posts on social media talked about a fighter pilot who “shot down 10 Russian planes.”
Several photos and videos started circulating on social media, with many prominent personalities-including former President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, sharing one such image on February 25.
Ukraine’s official shared a video including the same picture just two days later. “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 Russian aircraft,” it said in the tweet.