After Russian President Vladimir Putin upturned the world order and security by ordering a "military operation" in Ukraine, social media was flooded with images and pictures of Ukrainian soldiers dubbed as “Heroes of Ukraine” by their President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as they fought off aggressive Kremlin forces, garnering support from the world over.
One such video, which went viral on Twitter in the initial days of the invasion showing a fighter aircraft shooting down another, was a source of hope for many Ukrainians enduring the war. A Twitter user (@Olegi21) posted the video with the caption, “Ukrainian pilot who is 6-0 shoots down a Russian Su-35 with his MiG-29. He’s been nicknamed the ghost of Kyiv, and is the first pilot since WW2 to achieve ace status!"
With all its heroic charm, the video naturally attracted attention and was retweeted and reposted by multiple users, claiming that it was a Ukrainian fighter jet that was shooting down a Russian aircraft.
How true is this claim? Snopes, a fact-checking website, said that while a pilot titled “Ghost of Kyiv” may be real, this viral video is not. The website stated that this video was created with a simulation game called Digital Combat Simulator which was first released in 2008, and is not genuine.
It was originally uploaded to YouTube by a user named ‘Comrade_Corb’. In the description box of the video, the user clarifies that the trip is a simulation and is made as a homage to the Ghost of Kyiv.
Former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko posted the image of a pilot whom he referred to as the “Ghost of Kyiv”. “In the photo - the MiG-29 pilot. The same "Ghost of Kyiv". It terrifies enemies and pride Ukrainians. He has 6 victories over Russian pilots! With such powerful defenders, Ukraine will definitely win!"