At the outset of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s government invented and perpetuated the myth of a sole brave, highly accurate fighter pilot who single-handedly shot down up to 40 Russian aircraft.
“People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so,” the government tweeted in February of the reputed mysterious figure, saying the pilot had “already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircraft.” The ‘ghost’ was claimed to have taken out up to 40 Russian aircraft until he was eventually gunned down on March 13 while dogfighting an “overwhelming” number of enemy forces.
But many questioned if the “Ghost” was real, as footage purporting to be evidence of the pilot turned out to be from a video game. But those who questioned the official narrative turned out to be correct.
The “Ghost of Kyiv” is a myth, Ukrainian officials admitted.
After several media outlets identified the legendary, mysterious, hero fighter pilot as a 29-year-old father who recently fell in battle against the Russians, military officials acknowledged over the weekend that no such person exists.
“The ghost of Kyiv is a superhero legend whose character was created by Ukrainians!” Ukraine’s Air Force Command wrote on Facebook.
The “ghost” was identified by The Times as Major Stepan Tarabalka.
Although Tarabalka was a decorated war hero, he was not the “Ghost” — because no such person existed, Kyiv admitted.
“Hero of Ukraine Stepan Tarabalka is NOT ‘Ghost of Kyiv,’ and he did NOT shoot down 40 planes,” said the country’s Air Force Command.