May 3, 2022
The “Ghost of Kyiv” is a myth, Ukrainian officials admitted over the weekend.
After several news outlets last week identified the legendary, mysterious hero fighter pilot as a 29-year-old dad recently killed in battle with the Russians, military officials acknowledged Saturday that there was no such person.
“The ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend, whose character was created by Ukrainians!” Ukraine’s Air Force Command wrote on Facebook.
The reputed hero had been credited with taking out as many as 40 Russian aircraft until he was shot down March 13 while battling an “overwhelming” number of enemy forces, the Times of London had reported.
The Times identified the supposed Ukrainian war hero as Major Stepan Tarabalka.
But while Tarabalka was a distinguished war hero, he was not the “Ghost” — because there never was such a person, Ukraine said.
“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.
Instead, the moniker belongs collectively to all of Ukraine’s hero fighter pilots, military officials said.
“The #GhostOfKyiv is alive. It embodies the collective spirit of the highly qualified pilots of the Tactical Aviation Brigade who are successfully defending #Kyiv and the region,” the command tweeted.
The Ukrainian government had previously been key in creating and perpetuating the myth of a single brave and particularly on-target fighter pilot.
“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.”
But many people questioned whether the “Ghost” was real, as a video purporting to be evidence of the fighter turned out to instead be from a video game.
Some noted that the reported folk hero and his MiG-29 Fulcrum would not have the ammunition capacity to carry out the attacks he was credited with.
Still, many people were keen to celebrate the enigmatic purported pilot.
“True or not, this is EXACTLY the kind of inspiring story the resistance needs right now,” a user said on Twitter.
SOURCE: NY Post