The “Ghost of Kyiv” has yet again made rounds on the internet following its “accomplishments” in the skies. At SOFREP, we knew the Ghost story was wartime myth-making as soon as we saw it. Propaganda and disinformation flow out onto the internet every day, and readers need to apply their own filters to reasonably separate fact from fiction.

The claims made about the “Ghost” were implausible from the start, a single Mig-29 prowling the skies over Kyiv slaying Russian air force jets at will.  Any civilian looking up and seeing a jet in the sky whether Russian or Ukrainian believed they had seen the Ghost in action.  It just wasn’t believable.  The Mig-29 is well past being a state-of-the-art fighter plane, the Russian airforce has better jets, with better avionics, sensors and weapons like the SU-35 and SU-34. Ukraine knows this and has used its remaining Mig-29s very carefully to avoid encounters with better Russian jets in the skies over the battlefield.  Not to mention that going out as a lone wolf is a sure way to get yourself killed pretty quick.  Fighter planes fly combat missions in pairs or entire squadrons.  This isn’t WWI with pilots taking off alone to to go fight an enemy in single combat.

Ukraine’s government was pretty quiet about this at first, which also suggested it was a myth.  In the early days of the war, a fighter pilot shooting down multiple planes would not have been kept a secret, they would have given Ukraine’s people a hero it badly needed in the opening weeks of the invasion.  Ukrainian Armed Forces now acknowledge that the unsung hero of the Ukrainian skies does not exist. We’ll get to that later. But how did this whole myth even start?

Around February 24th or 25th, the first news of the Ghost of Kyiv had spread like wildfire online, with many tabloids, blogs, and social media users claiming that the unnamed pilot had shot down 6 Russian planes in a Ukrainian MiG-29 over Kyiv during the initial offensive into Ukraine. The planes that the Ghost supposedly shot down were 2 Su-35s, 2 Su-25s, a Su-27, and a MiG-29. If it were true, then the Ukrainians would be the first nation to record a fighter ace in the 21st century.