A Ghost Captures The Imagination Of Ukraine Supporters


In what is being condemned worldwide as a ghastly affront to humanity, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has created thousands of heroes but none have captured the collective hope for what was first thought to be a hopeless cause more than the “Ghost of Kyiv.” And the facts that no one has been able to confirm that the so-far unidentified Ukrainian air force fighter pilot is real or that his exploits over the country’s capital city are authentic don’t seem to matter. The pilot has come to symbolize the spirited and apparently remarkably successful defense of the country by everyone from elite special forces soldiers to shopkeepers and teachers. The story, which has held together in its basic content since it first emerged on social media on Thursday, is remarkable if it is, as so many hope, true.

According to the unconfirmed reports, the MiG-29 pilot shot down a total of six Russian aircraft on Thursday, becoming the war’s first ace. The Ghost is purported to have eliminated two S—35s, Russia’s most capable frontline fighter, an Su-27, a MiG-29 and two Su-25s. For what it’s worth, Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, is claiming the Ghost is real, although the authenticity of the image he included in his tweet has since been questioned. In the tweet, the former president claims the Ghost “terrorizes enemies and makes Ukrainian people proud.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. Even if this story was real, it’s too bad many people think war is like sports. “We’ll play, and we might win or lose,” etc. Nope. Way too casual. Some Russian comes up and shoots you in the face with a .45 automatic three times after you land—does that sound like a sport? Or gut-shoots you with an AK-47 when you’re getting out of your plane, all heroic right up until then? All “We won,” etc.? Gross. Everything about this story sucked.

  2. A myth? Perhaps, but “The Ghost” will stick as a folk hero and a champion of the Ukrainians. A needed morale booster.