The 'Ghost of Kyiv' could be real but this viral video is not

UN Security Council erupts in applause for Ukrainian victims
UN Security Council

Since Russian forces launched a "full-on invasion" into neighbouring Ukraine, there has been widespread coverage on social media with particular discussions surrounding a rumoured Ukrainian fighter pilot dubbed "The Ghost of Kyiv."

Unsubstantiated claims say the mystery pilot got this nickname by apparently shooting down six Russian aircrafts from his MiG-29 within a single day in the Luhansk region of the country.

The Ukrainian military said on Thursday, February 24 that five Russian planes and a Russian helicopter were shot down. However, it remains unclear if this was the result of a single Ukrainian pilot.

The Russian military has denied the claims, state news agency TASS reported on the same day, according to CNN.

Consequently, this somewhat of an urban legend has led to a miscaptioned video popping up and circulating on social media which claimed to show the Ghost of Kyiv shooting at another aircraft in the sky.

Even the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine’s official Twitter account shared the miscaptioned clip, AP reported.

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Here are some of the miscaptioned video posts from Twitter - which the social media giant has now added a misinformation warning underneath the video that reads: "This media is being presented out of context."

Now, Fact-checkers (AP, Reuters, Snopes) have since confirmed that this is not a genuine video of the Ghost of Kyiv but is actually a video created with Digital Combat Simulator, a simulation game that was first released in 2008.

The video appeared on a YouTube channel called “Comrade_Corb” where it was posted on February 24 and the original caption confirms that the footage is a simulation and was actually made as a homage to the Ghost of Kyiv, according to Snopes.

GHOST OF KIEV | dogfight between Ukrainian MiG29 and Russian Su27 simulated in DCS

In the video's description box, it says: "This footage is from DCS, but is nevertheless made out of respect for 'The Ghost of Kiev.' If he is real, may God be with him; if he is fake, I pray for more like 'him.'"

DCS is an abbreviation that stands for Digital Combat Simulator World, which is a digital battlefield game developed by Eagle Dynamics and is "free-to-play" for users.

This was confirmed by Matthias Techmanski, a spokesperson for Eagle Dynamics, who told Reuters the footage spreading on social media is from DCS. “We are not responsible for its distribution, nor do we endorse such content,” he said.

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