The Ukrainian government has seized on unsubstantiated rumours that an unnamed MiG-29 fighter pilot dubbed the 'Ghost of Kyiv' has downed several Russian jets by sharing a macho propaganda video containing footage from a videogame, Daily Mail reported.
Twitter is alight with clips that allegedly show a Ukrainian jet soaring through the skies over several cities and shooting down six Kremlin planes in dogfights on the first day of Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggressive war against the former Soviet republic.
However, one video which got nearly 5 million views and spawned the rumours has been thoroughly debunked as a clip from the 2008 videogame Digital Combat Simulator, Daily Mail reported.
Despite this, Kyiv is now openly promoting claims that the unnamed pilot exists, in an apparent bid to rally the besieged nation behind an urban hero and fuel support for Ukraine's war effort, the report said.
Posting a 38 second video on Sunday, the government's official Twitter account said: "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 video starts with a cartoon illustration of the "Ghost of Kyiv", before using the debunked footage of a downed Russian jet. Text then appears on the video, which reads: "Ukraine probably got its first ace since World War II. This is the anonymous pilot of the MiG-29, nicknamed the Ghost of Kyiv", Daily Mail reported.
"In the first 30 hours of the Russian invasion in February 2022 he shot down six Russian military aircraft. As of February 26 – 10 military planes of the occupiers. To become an ace pilot, you need to shoot down five planes. And the Ghost of Kyiv shot twice as many," the report said.