What’s the “Ghost of Kyiv?”

What’s the “Ghost of Kyiv?”

The backstory:

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine (a former Soviet state) back in 2014, which caused it to be kicked out of the international military alliance, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Over the last few months, Russia has been amassing large numbers of troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border, worrying people that Russia was looking to invade again, eight years after the first invasion.
  • Russia denied any intention to invade and said that the troops were for self-defense. Meanwhile, they sent some demands to the West, including banning Ukraine from ever entering NATO.
  • The United States responded by writing to Russia, saying that they wouldn’t ban Ukraine but would find ways to work with Russia where appropriate.
  • On February 21, in a televised address, Russian President Putin recognized two Russian-backed separatist regions in Ukraine and then ordered the Russian army into the area to “keep the peace.”
  • Putin described the country as an essential part of Russia’s history and added that he was confident that the Russian public would support his decision.
  • Since Russia’s move, the US, the United Kingdom and the European Union have all announced increasingly intense sanctions against the country.
  • Ukraine declared a state of emergency on February 24 for 30 days. This announcement came after several government websites were experiencing a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack.

The development:

  • A famous legend of “The Ghost of Kyiv” is circulating on social media, especially in Ukraine.
  • It’s the nickname given to an unconfirmed Ukrainian MiG-29 Fulcrum flying ace credited with shooting down six Russian planes singlehandedly. According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), this pilot has shot down 10 Russian jets as of February 27.
  • It hasn’t been verified by any Ukrainian authority or news outlet, but former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko tweeted a photograph of a fighter pilot, claiming it to be the Ghost of Kyiv, who Poroshenko said was real.
  • The Ghost of Kyiv has been credited as a morale booster for Ukrainians. The urban legend is likely not a deliberate creation.

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