The mysterious Ukrainian pilot dubbed the "Ghost of Kyiv" who shot down 10 Russian fighter jets and had been thought to be a myth, actually exists in reality. On Friday, Ukraine's armed forces warned Russia that the "Ghost of Kyiv," is "coming for your soul" and released a photograph of the hero pilot.
It is not known if there is any gimmick into the message and photograph shared by Ukrainian officials but speculation is once again rife that the "Ghost of Kyiv" is not a myth but is for real and has been fighting like a hero since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Ghost Comes Alive
On Friday, Ukraine's general staff shared a photo on Facebook of the purported pilot in the cockpit of his MiG-29 fighter jet, wearing a black visor and breathing mask. They didn't name the pilot but simply released an image with a message. The message is a kind of warning to the Russian air force.
"'Hello, Russian villain, I'm coming for your soul!' â the Ghost of Kyiv," the threatening post said.
The shot shows the pilot pointing off the weapons aboard his Soviet-designed plane.
Reports of the "Ghost of Kyiv" have gone viral on social media ever since Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago. The lone fighter pilot is believed to have shot down 10 Russian planes, an extraordinary performance for one person.
One story claimed the Ghost had supposedly downed as many as six Russian planes on the first day of combat.
Symbol of Resistance
It is still not confirmed if the "Ghost of Kyiv" is real or Ukraine is using it to warn Russians based on the stories circulating on social media. This is so because they didn't give the name of the pilot. Moreover, the photograph shows him in sunglasses and his air force uniform, which doesn't give his original photo.
However, the Ghost is fast becoming a symbol of resistance against the massive, but stalled, invasion. Ukraine has claimed it has shot down multiple Russian aircraft during the conflict.
Putin had almost 1,200 combat aircraft before hostilities began, while Ukraine had just 124 but Russia is yet to achieve control over the skies. However, several of the Russian jets have been down over the past 17 days, dealing major losses to Putin's forces.
Putin's invasion of Ukraine has caused the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II - with over 2.5 million refugees fleeing Ukraine to neighboring countries.
Experts say Ukraine's ability to keep air force jets flying is a clear indication of the country's resilience in the face of attack and has served as a morale booster for both its military and its people.
Ukraine's military forces have been posting photos and videos of downed Russian planes on a daily basis, claiming to have shot down 57 planes so far.
However, despite their alleged success in taking down planes, cities across the country continue to be bombarded.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has repeatedly asked his Western friends to impose a no-fly zone over his nation, but his requests have so far been ignored. In an apparent effort to reach a compromise, Zelensky has also requested that the US give more jets so that Ukraine can better defend itself.