How the Legend of the Ghost of Kyiv was Born

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There is now extreme chaos between Ukraine and Russia. War has broken out for a few months and everyone in Ukraine is fighting for their own survival. The blue sky has been replaced by the smog because there is constant shooting both in the air and on the ground.

In the midst of these crazy events, Ukrainian citizens have been able to regain their courage and hope through the “Ghost of Kyiv”.

What and who is this Ghost of Kyiv? Is it an urban legend or a real Ukrainian superhero?

“Ghost of Kyiv”

Speculation about the Ukrainian ghost of Kyiv, who allegedly shot down six Russian fighter jets while defending his country in the early weeks of the war intrigues the world. The alleged Ghost of Kyiv was piloting the Russian-made MiG-29 that shot down the Russian fighter jets, including two Su-35 Flankers, two Su-25 Flankers, one MiG-29 Fulkrum, and two Su-29 Frogfoots. 

Pictures circulating on the Internet about this alleged superhero have recently been found to be fakes. These images were altered using old and manipulated photos to make people believe that this pilot is their hero. 

Some say that Ukrainians are making up these stories to either scare Russian ground and aerial soldiers or to cheer up Ukrainian refugees. But unfortunately, to this day, there is no accurate evidence or proof of who this ghost of Kyiv really is. The majority of the people are reading false news over social media. Images and videos that are spreading around about this mystery pilot are unfortunately fake. 

Ukraine and Russian fighter jets – what do we know about them?

Fighter jets or aircraft are military-designed aircraft with fixed armors on each wing to fight in aerial combat. First-generation jet fighters were first used during the second world war. As time passes by, these aircraft are rapidly evolving along with the latest technology and mechanisms. 

Ukrainian Fighter Jets

Ukraine’s list of fighter jets is obsolete compared to the Russians. Ukraine has a MiG-29 4th generation fighter jet and Su-25 attack aircraft that were designed in the 1970s and a Su-24 attack aircraft that was designed in the 1960s.

Russian Fighter Jets

Russia’s fleet consists of multiple fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets namely Su-35, Su-27, MiG-29, and MiG-3. These jets are advanced versions of the ones that are produced in recent years. With these jets, it was clear that Russia will dominate Ukrainian skies.

Although Russia has more aircraft than Ukraine, its plan to dominate Ukrainian skies was not a success. Ukraine even shot down one of Russia’s advanced fighter jets, the Su-35S (Flanker-E) which is a fifth-generation fighter jet that is considered a multi-rile fighter jet. 

Ukraine was able to boost its defense because of Western supplies such as the Stinger man-portable surface-to-air missiles that were delivered by the US and Starstreak MANPADS from the UK. Without the support from the western countries, there’s a possibility that Ukraine will face its downfall. 

Government’s thoughts on the Ghost of Kyiv

In the social media of the Ukrainian government, the story of the Ghost of Kyiv was spread quickly and without evidence. There was also a rumor that Stepan Tarabalka was the real pilot who shot down the six Russian planes. The Ukrainian Air Force quickly clarified in its Facebook post that Tarabalka was not the Ghost of Kyiv, but one of the highly skilled pilots of the Tactical Air Force Brigade because he was able to successfully defend Kyiv and the region.

To make things even crazier, the former Ukrainian president posted a photo of a helmeted pilot and claimed that this pilot in the cockpit was the Ghost of Kyiv, which of course is a fake. This picture was taken by the Ministry of Defense three years ago and was a test flight with a new helmet.

But later Ukraine admits that this Ghost of Kyiv does not exist. This is merely a figure invented by the Ukrainians.

Ukraine x Russia war update 

Russia’s attempt to invade Ukraine has made no progress in recent weeks. This has resulted in Russian troops withdrawing, where they are currently focused on protecting their supply routes. This clearly shows that the counteroffensive strategy of Northeast Khariv is effective. Moreover, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, a senior Ukrainian official, predicts that the war will slowly come to an end by the end of the year.

But nothing is for sure at the moment as the tension between both countries is still strong. What is important right now is the safety of all civilians and the hope to end this conflict once and for all. 


There is no exact evidence to prove the real identity of the Ghost of Kyiv. Unfortunately, rumors travel faster than facts these days as people are too excited with fake news than actual facts. The Ukrainian Air Force was able to clarify that the Ghost of Kyiv doesn’t exist. The conflict between these two countries is still ongoing and the chances of it dying down are unpredictable. 

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