The urban legend of the “Ghost of Kyiv” has taken over social media amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Nearly a day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an unconfirmed video of a MiG-29 jet appearing over Kyiv went viral online.
Several social media users claimed that the mystery pilot allegedly took down six Russian fighter jets and dubbed the unidentified legend as the first “ace” of the 21st century, a term used to define a pilot who has shot down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial warfare.
While there is no evidence to prove if the ambiguous pilot is real, many Ukrainians are finding hope within the mystery amid the dark days of the war-stricken country.
Twitter reacts to ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ rumors
In the wake of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, a video showing a MiG-29 jet flying over the capital city of Kyiv was widely circulated on social media.
The yet-to-be confirmed footage garnered more than five million views on Twitter and gave rise to rumors suggesting the mystery pilot allegedly shot down six Russian fighter jets. The pilot was soon dubbed as the “Ghost of Kyiv” and became a subject of discussion among netizens.
Despite having no actual confirmation of the existence of the alleged mystery pilot, several people started finding hope in the story. Several social media users also took to Twitter to react to the urban legend:
As of now, Ukraine is yet to confirm or deny the presence of the mystery pilot. On February 25, the Defence of Ukraine tweeted that dozens of experienced military pilots, who were previously discharged from the reserve, are returning to the air force amid the ongoing Russian-Ukraine crisis.
The Twitter account further added:
“Who knows, maybe one of them is the air avenger on the MiG-29, which is so often seen by Kyivites!”
Although the tweet did not directly address the story of the “Ghost of Kyiv,” it held an ambiguous tone possibly with the aim of boosting the morale of Ukrainians who are fighting against the grave situation in the country.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a "special military operation" in the Donbas area of Ukraine around 05:00 local time on February 24, 2022.
The announcement was followed by missiles striking several locations across Ukraine, including the capital city Kyiv, and the arrival of ground forces two hours later.
As the Ukrainian Border Service reported an attack on its border posts with Belarus and Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy enacted martial law and severed diplomatic ties with Russia.