‘Stop Spreading Fake News: The Ghost Of Kyiv Is A Legend’, Ukrainian Military Says

Ghost of Kyiv
One of the images that distributed online allegedly portraying the “Ghost of Kyiv”. (Ukrainian Air Force)

Some declares about the “Ghost of Kyiv” that went viral recently and other current “urban legends” were simply formally exposed.

“Hero of Ukraine Stepan Tarabalka is NOT “Ghost of Kyiv” and he did NOT hit 40 aircrafts.” This is one of the most intriguing declarations consistedof in an authorities declaration shared on social networks by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The post, was released in the afternoon European time on Apr. 30, 2022, and appears to be a reaction to the reports that began to distribute on British media outlets on Apr. 29.

Citing Ukrainian sources, The Times was the veryfirst to report that a Ukrainian Air Force pilot, Maj. Stepan Tarabalka, 29, a dad of one, shot down while flying a MiG-29 on Mar. 13, 2022, was the famous “Ghost of Kyiv”, a fighter pilot who shot down “more than 40 Russian airplane”.

We veryfirst reported about the legend of the “Ghost” on Feb. 25, quickly after the Russian soldiers had began their intrusion of Ukraine and the news a secret pilot who singlehandedly shot down “six Russian airplane” in a matter of coupleof hours, hadactually gone viral.

According to social media posts, one day into the war, the “Ghost of Kyiv” hadactually endedupbeing the veryfirst air battle ace over European soil consideringthat World War II, attaining the ace-in-a-day (shooting down more than 5 opponent airplane) status. As we discussed back then, the legend began with a series of 3 tweets revealing a only Ukrainian fighter jet operating over the capital, which were retweeted thousands of times. The Spanish paper Marca was amongst the veryfirst to claim that the Ghost of Kyiv had downed the 6 airplane. Among his declared eliminates, the Ghost atfirst declared no less than 2 Russian Sukhoi Su-35s, a Russian Su-27 Flanker, a Russian MiG-29 and 2 Russian Su-25 ground attack airplane.

Even the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published about the Ghost, retweeting videofootage of a MiG-29 combating a Russian airplane in what was lateron exposed to be a video tape-recorded in the flight simulator DCS World. Former Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, published on Twitter a picture of a fighter pilot, declaring it to be the genuine Ghost of Kyiv. Obviously, there is no method to verify his genuine identity and his air-to-air eliminates, however for lotsof the one from the previous president appeared to turn a wild city legend into truth.

However, because the extremely starting, the story didn’t include up: as we plainly discussed in our veryfirst post on the “Ghost”:

There’s just one capture: there mostlikely is no “Ghost of Kyiv” and this web legend is mostlikely not real.

The legend of the “Ghost of Kyiv” is practically definitely an example of strange distortions and adjustments of reality or near-fact that are magnified throughout the mayhem of war, specifically a brand-new war throughout the opening hours. These legends often have at least some basis in truth, however as they travel through language barriers and throughout borders at the speed of light bymeansof social media, they endedupbeing decorated, retransmitted and retweeted as “news”. There might haveactually been Ukrainian air-to-air triumphes in the opening day of the war. There might have even been 6 overall, or some other number. But the possibility that 6 of these declared aerial triumphes belongs to a particular, gallant “ace-in-a-day” is remote.

Despite the absence of proof, numerous individuals declared that the Ghost existed and kept battling Russian jets, while numerous began to think the “Ghost” was mostlikely simply a legend, that hadactually endedupbeing the aroundtheworld symbol of the Ukrainian resistance, a moral-booster as well as the primary character of numerous intriguing artwork.

While stories about the “Ghost of Kyiv” have emerged every now and then after the veryfirst week or so of the war, the dominating theory was that the strange pilot was simply a legend that might provide Ukrainian individuals hope, pride and desire to battle, acting as an example of bravery and love for the motherland to follow. Until the presence of the famous pilot was supposedly supported by some Ukrainian sources mentioned by The Times and by numerous British tabloids instantly afterwards.

In the end, even the authorities Ukrainian accounts have had to post an authorities declaration to respond to such reports that might mostlikely damage the credibility and reliability of Kyiv’s military along with its past and future claims.

The post by the Ukrainian military approximately equate as follows:



Once onceagain, we ask the Ukrainian neighborhood NOT to disregard the fundamental guidelines of info health, not to concern the preferred one as legitimate, check the sources of info priorto dispersing it.

❗️ Hero of Ukraine Stepan Tarabalka is NOT “Ghost of Kiev” and he did NOT hit 40 airplanes.

On March 13, 2022, Major Stepan Tarabalka was heroically eliminated in an air fight with the dominant forces of the Russian occupiers. Here’s the info about him on the authorities site of the KPSU: https://www.facebook.com/kpszsu/posts/339462291555059

Ghost of Kiev is a superhero-legend whose character was developed by Ukrainians! This is a quicker gathered image of pilots of the 40th Air Force tactical airtravel brigade, who safeguard the sky of the capital. What unexpectedly appear where they are not anticipated!

❗️ Military pilots are not yet studying abroad on F-16, as much as we all desire it.

No authorities declaration on this matter hasactually been released in the media!

❗️ Well, and finally, for specifically imaginative – American bombers do not fly over Ukraine either!

Keep calm and usage authorities sources of info.

🇺CHELOR’SDEGREE🇦 Glory to Ukraine!

🖊 Public Relations Service Command Air Force Armed Forces of Ukraine

In other words, Maj. Stepan Tarabalka was a hero pilot who was eliminated in action on Mar. 13, 2022, however he did not shot down 40 Russian airplane.

The post likewise dealtwith some other current declares, as the one that Ukrainian pilots would be training on F-16s in Germany or that American bombers would be flying over Ukraine.

Therefore, as discussed at the start of the war, the “Ghost of Kyiv” was a still is a meme, a cumulative image of all Ukrainian fighter pilots who fearlessly battle versus Russian Aerospace Forces airplane over Ukraine: a sign rather than an real pilot, no matter what some media outlets hypothesize.


David Cenciotti is a freelance reporter based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most popular and read armedforce airtravel blogsites. Since 1996, he hasactually composed for significant aroundtheworld publications, consistingof Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and lotsof others, covering airtravel, defense, war, market, intelligence, criminaloffense and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown anumberof fight aircrafts with various air forces. He is a previous 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a personal pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He hasactually composed 5 books and contributed to numerous more ones.

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