Ukraine officially denies rumors about ‘Ghost of Kiev’ pilot

According to a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, the pilot “Ghost of Kiev” was only a story made up by the public about the unit defending the capital.

(This image was first uploaded on Friday, April 26, 2019)

The pilot “Ghost of Kiev” is nothing more than a Ukrainian superhero myth. “It’s a collective image of the pilots of the 40th Tactical Air Force Brigade, who are charged with protecting the capital’s airspace,” a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuriy Ignat, said. Mr Ignat made the assertion after The Times of London published a story last week suggesting that “The Ghost of Kiev” was Ukrainian Air Force Major Stepan Tarabilka.

Pilot Tarabilka perished in action on March 13 after shooting down more than 40 Russian jets during battles, according to a British publication. Mr. Ignat acknowledged that pilot Tarabilka was killed in a dogfight with a Russian fighter, however the claims that this major is the “Ghost of Kiev” pilot and that he has shot down 40 Russian planes are untrue. During the initial weeks of hostilities, the story of the heroic pilot who protected the Ukrainian capital quickly spread on social media.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry once posted a video featuring an image of a pilot shooting down a Russian fighter plane, alluding to the “Ghost of Kiev.” However, image analysts later discovered that the video of the alleged “Ghost of Kiev” aerial conflict is simply a synthetic image clipped from a computer game. Ukraine is still requesting more armaments from NATO and Western countries in order to retain its ability to combat Russian forces, including a proposal to help with fighter jets.

In March, in an interview with NPR, information about Major Tarabilka’s death was confirmed. Major Tarabilka’s relatives and Ukrainian government at the time denied any link between him and the renowned pilot narrative “The Ghost of Kiev.”Major Tarabilka was on a mission in the Donbass region in 2014, according to NPR, but the number of planes he shot down was unlikely to reach the claimed figure.

The Ukrainian Air Force now has two major fighter lines, the MiG-29 and Su-27. However, after more than two months of fighting, the number of Ukrainian planes has been drastically decreased as a result of Russian aircraft being shot down. The United States and its allies have provided Ukraine with the necessary equipment to repair and re-equip roughly 20 MiG-29s. That isn’t enough; a number of Eastern European countries, notably Slovakia, are planning to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

However, due to Russia’s warning, the agreement is currently on hold. When compared to Russian fighters, the current Ukrainian fighters are vastly inferior. When battling Russian aircraft, the Ukrainian side frequently loses due to a lack of long-range air weapons.

The Ukrainian battlefield is currently exceedingly intricate and shows no indications of easing down, especially because both Russia and Ukraine remain committed to their hard position.

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