Last February, the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ was already making headlines with claims of bringing down five Russian planes and a helicopter. Since then his supposed tally has allegedly grown to include 49 Russian planes.
On Friday, Ukraine's air force shared a selfie of the famous pilot with a cryptic message.
"Hello, occupier, I’m flying for your soul!” says the picture's caption with the pilot seen drawing attention to one of the missiles attached to his jet.
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The pilot is notably sitting in a MiG-29 (Fulcrum fighter jet), a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. The MiG-29 was developed as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s.
Many of these planes have been furnished as multi-role fighters capable of performing several different operations. They are further often outfitted with a range of air-to-surface armaments and precision munitions. The most recent models feature improved engines and increased fuel capacity with the option for aerial refueling.
Meanwhile, in the selfie, the pilot's face is completely hidden by a helmet, visor, and breathing apparatus making it unclear who he is.
For now, the public is not certain whether the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ has been fabricated by the Ukrainian government as war propaganda and whether he actually really exists.
The government further tweeted a video of an artist’s impression of the pilot with the caption: “People call him the Ghost of Kyiv.
“And rightly so – this UAF (Ukrainian Air Force) ace dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircraft.”
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 aircrafts. pic.twitter.com/lngfaMN01I— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 27, 2022
One thing is for sure, the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ is popular. People have taken to social media to call him a "hero" and an "angel" while Ukraine’s official Twitter account has referred to him as an “ace”, a moniker a pilot gets once he has shot down at least five aircraft. Claims have been circulating that the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ shot down six planes on the very first day of the Russian invasion. Who is this mysterious character?