Who is the Ghost of Kyiv? Ukraine MiG-29 Fighter Pilot Becomes the Stuff of Legend 

An unconfirmed Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter pilot—dubbed the "Ghost of Kyiv" by social media users—has gone viral as several unsubstantiated claims have begun claiming the flyer downed several Russian jets.

Social media users on Friday shared clips that allegedly show a MiG-29 jet soaring through the skies over several cities in Ukraine. In what appears to be the creation of an urban legend, many are calling the mysterious pilot a hero and the "first European Ace since World War II."

But the "Ghost of Kyiv" is very likely not real, but instead an imaginary hero designed to bolster Ukrainians' morale in the face of the Russian invasion.

A flying ace is a term given to a military aviator credited with downing five or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat.

There is zero evidence the "Ghost of Kyiv" exists with Ukrainian authorities not confirming their existence. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that at least six Russian planes and two helicopters had been destroyed on the first day of fighting.

"Please let the Ghost of Kyiv be real," wrote Twitter user Jason Calacanis, sharing a nine-second clip that shows a MiG-29 fighter jet flying past what appears to be a residential area in a Ukrainian city.

"I'm begging major media to report on whether 'The Ghost of Kyiv' really exists—as if it's true that today a heroic Ukrainian fighter pilot single-handedly downed *6* Russian jets, this flying ace immediately becomes a stirring symbol of Ukraine's resistance to Putin's war crimes," tweeted author and lawyer Seth Abramson.

Abramson shared a still image that allegedly shows the "Ghost of Kyiv" flying an old MiG-29, that he took from a widely circulating video.

"Again, we *do not know* if this is real or not," he clarified.

Others took to social media to say that, whether the "Ghost of Kyiv," is real or not, the pilot is "an inspiration to us all."

"May your engines burn hot and your spirit never be crushed, Ghost of Kyiv," a YouTube user commented on a video titled, "First Fighter Ace of the 21st Century!? #Ukraine Pilot Claims 6 Kills on Day 1."

Another Twitter user added: "People are naming this lone MiG-29 pilot the 'Ghost of Kyiv'. He's reportedly scored 3-4 victories today, less than a day into the invasion. Godspeed."

Meanwhile, the Ukraine armed forces shared a video, claiming that it showed a Ukrainian MiG-29 taking down a Russian fighter jet in a dogfight.

However, that clip was first uploaded onto video-sharing platform YouTube and was titled "GHOST OF KIEV KILL." The uploader claimed in the clip's description box that the footage was made using a digital combat simulator.

"This footage is from DCS, but is nevertheless made out of respect for 'The Ghost of Kiev.' If he is real, may God be with him; if he is fake, I pray for more like 'him,'" the user wrote.

Clashes between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces entered a second day on Friday, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that 137 civilians and military personnel had been killed so far since Russia launched the invasion.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Russian forces appeared to have infiltrated a residential district of Kyiv.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow would be "ready for negotiations" should Ukraine surrender.

Ghost of Kyiv
An unconfirmed Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter pilot dubbed the “Ghost of Kyiv” by social media users has gone viral with many claiming the individual downed several Russian jets in combat. Screengrab/Twitter

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