A Ukrainian fighter pilot has been credited with shooting down 10 Russian jets on Day 1 of the invasion. Though this claim is unverified, some Ukrainian ministers and local media have said the pilot, whose identity is unknown and quickly got the name “Ghost of Kyiv”, flew a MiG-29 on his road to becoming an ace – a pilot who scores five or more kills.
The “Ghost of Kyiv” would likely turn out to be an urban legend, some military analysts have said, but is nonetheless serving as a massive morale booster for the Ukrainian forces in the face of overwhelming odds.
The combined strength of the invading Russian forces – land, air and sea – outnumber the Ukrainians. But the “Ghost of Kyiv” and reports of Ukrainian soldiers making brave last stands, which have been shared widely on social media, have helped Ukrainians stay optimistic despite the big threat that they face.
“People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so – this UAF ace dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircrafts,” the official Twitter account representing Ukraine tweeted.
The tweet features an animated clip and visuals of a MiG-29 fighter jet on a combat air patrol over a city in Ukraine.
“Ukrainians are grateful to this hero…who’s having Russian aircraft for breakfast,” the tweet says.
People call him the Ghost of Kyiv. And rightly so – this UAF ace dominates the skies over our capital and country, and has already become a nightmare for invading Russian aircrafts. pic.twitter.com/lngfaMN01I
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 27, 2022
Fact-checking website Snopes says the “Ghost of Kyiv” could be a real pilot, but videos on social media showing a dogfight in which a Ukrainian jet shoots down a Russian aircraft is definitely fake, as the video is from an air combat simulation game called “DCS”.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators on Monday met for the first time since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion with Ukraine demanding a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. The talks ended with both sides agreeing to continue a second-round of negotiations “soon”.
Russian President Vladmir Putin levelled conditions on ending Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine as Russian forces shelled the country’s second city in the face of sweeping Western sanctions.