Fact check: Here's everything we know about the 'Ghost of Kyiv'
The capital city of Kyiv in Ukraine has stood tall and defended itself against the Russian attack, and a fighter pilot, known as the Ghost of Kyiv, is taking all the credit as they allegedly brought down five Russian planes and a helicopter. Social media is rife with videos of one of their 'kills', which has been viewed and shared by thousands of users, Reuters reports.
#BREAKING— Ukrainelive (@Ukrainelive5) February 25, 2022
Crazy footage of a MiG-29 of the Ukrainian Air Force shooting down a Su-35 fighter jet of #Russia’s Air Force over Ukraine’s capital #Kyiv today. Likely using the R-73 infrared homing missile. #Ukraine #RussiaInvadesUkraine #worldwar3 #WorldWarIII #WWIII pic.twitter.com/MWGRfhnexB
Who is the Ghost of Kyiv?
Using the footage as the lead, one would assume that Ghost of Kyiv flies the MiG-29, designed in the 1970s in the erstwhile Soviet Union. Aimed to fight the American-made F-15s and F-16s, the aircraft was inherited by the former member states of the Soviet Union, who continue to use it to date. It would be pretty ironic that a former Soviet aircraft brought down its bigger counterpart, the Sukhoi-35, let alone four more planes.
Further tracing back the origins of the video clip, Reuters found this clip on YouTube, which was uploaded on February 25 and garnered more than two million views. The description in the video clearly states that the footage is from DCS or Digital Combat Simulator, a free-to-play online combat simulation game, and is made out of respect for Ghost of Kyiv. The origin of the clip has also been confirmed by Eagle Dynamics, the makers of the simulation game.
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With clips of military aircraft doing sorties in Ukrainian airspace floating around on the internet, it is not surprising that video game footage is being assumed to be a real thing. Given the nature of the conflict, Ukraine and its residents would like to believe that such as ace pilot is among its ranks, instill fear in the adversary, and will keep them safe.
The final verdict
The Ukrainian military hasn't confirmed either that the five aircraft went down to a single pilot, Reuters reported.
So, while the Ghost of Kyiv likely hasn't taken down 6 Russian aircraft, one thing's for sure: The footage definitely isn't real.