Ukraine’s fighter pilots are vastly outnumbered by the Russians, and also have become famous – thanks in part to your tale of an flying that is alleged called the “Ghost of Kyiv”.

This hero is believed to have downed as much as 40 enemy planes – an feat that is incredible an arena where Russia controls the skies.

However now the Ukraine Air Force Command has warned on Facebook that the “Ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend whose character was made by Ukrainians!”.

“We ask the Ukrainian community never to neglect the essential rules of data hygiene,” the message stated, urging visitors to “check the sourced elements of information, before spreading it”.

Earlier reports had called the ace as Major Stepan Tarabalka, 29. The authorities confirmed which he had been killed in combat on 13 March and honoured with a Hero of Ukraine medal posthumously.

Now, the new atmosphere force stresses that “Tarabalka isn’t ‘Ghost of Kiev’, and he did not hit 40 planes”.

It describes the “Ghost of Kyiv” as “a collective image of pilots associated with Air Force’s 40th aviation that is tactical, who protect the sky within the capital”, instead of a single guy’s combat record.

For months, Ukrainians did not have a true name to go with the “Ghost of Kyiv” – but that didn’t stop the story going viral on social networking.

It had been used as a marketing brand name by a model that is ukrainian manufacturer, while Ukrainian Iryna Kostyrenko showed off an armed forces badge influenced by the legend.

Army professionals told the BBC they doubted that certain pilot may have downed as much as 40 planes which are russian.

Ukrainian historian that is army Zhirohov described the Ghost of Kyiv story as “propaganda for raising morale”. Talking to the BBC from Chernihiv, he said that in early stages within the war the Russians dominated airspace that is ukrainian so a Ukrainian pilot “could only shoot straight down two or three”.

“It’s important to have this propaganda, because our forces that are armed smaller, and many think we can not be add up to them [the Russians]. We are in need of this in wartime,” he stated.

The fact that Ukrainian pilots are still denying Russia total mastery of this skies, traveling inferior, older Russian-designed MiG-29s, encouraged this legend that is modern.

With all its might that is military has had more than two months to knock away Ukraine’s atmosphere defences – and failed.

The Ukrainian authorities fuelled the Ghost of Kyiv legend just times into the war.

The Ukraine safety Service (SBU) revealed a fighter pilot on the Telegram texting service, with a caption calling the “Ghost of Kyiv” an “angel” for downing 10 planes which are russian. Nonetheless it would not name the “angel”, and media reports later said the photo used was an old one.

A ukrainian specialist that is military requested anonymity told the BBC the Ghost of Kyiv story “has assisted to raise morale at the same time whenever people require simple tales”.

Ukraine’s morale has also been boosted by the Moskva story.

First, Ukrainian border guards defied the Russian missile cruiser with a rude motion, commemorated with a postage stamp that is popular. Then Ukraine allegedly sank it – the pride of Russia’s Ebony Sea Fleet – with two missiles which are neptune. Russia admitted there was clearly a fire agreeable, and that the ship sank, but made no reference to a missile attack.

Heroic fighter pilots have actually entered the mythology that is nationwide of countries too. The UK celebrates the Royal that is brave Air pilots who outwitted the mighty Nazi Luftwaffe in the 1940 Battle of Britain.

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And Russia itself glorifies the sacrifices of its World War Two pilots, who had been outgunned by the Germans. Some intentionally crashed into enemy planes after operating away from bullets.

Legends just like the Ghost of Kyiv aren’t astonishing whenever there are such numbers which are contrasting for Russian and Ukrainian losses: there was a good amount of space for embellishment.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said that into the war thus far Russia had lost 190 planes and 155 helicopters on 30 April.

But independent analysts that are military reckon the Russian losses become 26 planes and 39 helicopters, in addition to 48 drones (UAVs).

Both Russia and Ukraine are extremely secretive about their losings which are very own. Counting is hard, because aircraft often crash in Russian-held territory, plus some have the ability to land in Russia.

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