A 22-second video circulating on Facebook shows a plane shot down midair on a sunny day. The caption says it could be a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter pilot dubbed the “Ghost of Kyiv” shooting a Russian plane out of the sky.
“The dogfights continue,” read a Feb. 25 Facebook post that shared the video. “Ukrainian mig-29 shoots down russian su-35. Is it the ‘ghost of Kiev’ that shot down 6 russian fighter jets on its own?”
The video is one of many Facebook posts about the so-called Ghost of Kiev shared amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This video post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
It is still unclear if such a driver even exists. But some claims, like this one, are easily refuted.
The video shared on Facebook is a simulation created in the Digital Combat Simulator video game, a free online game. The stated goal is “to provide the most authentic and realistic simulation of aircraft, tanks, land vehicles and military vessels possible,” according to the DCS World website.
A person on YouTube with the username Comrade_Corb uploaded the short clip on February 24.
“This footage is from DCS, but is nonetheless made out of respect for ‘The Ghost of Kiev,'” the video’s description reads. “If he’s real, God be with him; if he’s fake, I pray there’s more like ‘him’.”
The title of the video on YouTube also indicates that the video is a simulation: “GHOST OF KIEV | air combat between Ukrainian MiG29 and Russian Su27 simulated in DCS World”.
(Screenshot from YouTube)
As the YouTube user admitted, it is still unclear whether the famous Ukrainian pilot is real. Unconfirmed reports suggested that the Phantom of Kiev was responsible for shooting down six Russian planes on the first day of the invasion.
To support these claims, the Ukrainian armed forces reported that five Russian planes and a helicopter were shot down on February 24. The Russian army denied this information.
Aviation experts said it was unlikely a single fighter pilot could shoot down six planes in a day.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and other officials have referenced the Kyiv ghost in social media posts, further fueling speculation that the fighter pilot is real.
Ghost or no ghost, the video shared by some social media users claiming it showed a Ukrainian MiG-29 shooting down a Russian Su-35 is not real.
The clip shows a video game simulation, not the fighting in Ukraine. We rate the video Fake.
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