For those who are closely following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the words “Ghost of Kyiv” might sound familiar; they refer to a Ukrainian fighter pilot who, beating all odds, is shooting down one Russian plane after the other in the skies of the besieged Ukrainian capital. While the claims seem unsubstantiated, a video has surfaced on the internet, capturing the Ghost getting a kill over Kyiv: it has now been proven to be false, filmed in the game Digital Combat Simulator.
In desperate situations, like the one imposed on the Ukrainian people, the morale of the populace is a key factor, and much effort is made in keeping it up. The “Ghost of Kiev” rumors were born from a proven fact, that the small Ukrainian Air Force wasn’t completely destroyed in the initial Russian strike, a fact corroborated by sightings of Ukrainian Mig-29 fighters and Mi-24 helicopters over Kyiv. With the Ukrainian military claiming several Russian planes shot down, so far without confirmation, rumors started regarding a single MiG pilot being responsible for six “kills” over Kyiv; thus the “Ghost of Kyiv” story diffused, together with a video capturing a MiG-29 shooting down a Russian Sukhoi with an air-to-air missile. The video is false, being taken from a YouTube clip filmed in the DCS flight simulator; interestingly, a video from ARMA 3 has a similar story.