Fact Check: Old Images Of Jet Crashes Do NOT Show Downed 'Ghost Of Kyiv'

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Old Images Of Jet Crashes Do NOT Show Downed 'Ghost Of Kyiv' Not Ghost

Do these photos show proof that the "Ghost of Kyiv" was shot down on February 25, 2022? No, that's not true: These images of jet crashes are several years old and are not associated with the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is not known if there is truly a Ukrainian ace pilot who has been named "The Ghost of Kyiv," if this pilot is only a urban legend, or if the truth is somewhere in between -- but regardless whether the Ghost of Kyiv is real or not, the jets in the photos crashed years ago.

These claims originated from a single Twitter account that posted two different tweets with photos of crashed jets in the morning and afternoon (archived here and here) on February 25, 2022. The first tweet was captioned:

BREAKING NEWS: Ghost of Kyiv has been shot down per @APNews he had 15 kills. No parachute, he leaves behind his husband and 3 dogs. RIP Ghost

The second of the tweets said:

Unfortunately he was shot down this morning 😢 #ghostofkyiv

This is how these tweets appeared at the time of writing:


(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Sat Feb 26 22:21:34 2022 UTC)


(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Sat Feb 26 22:21:34 2022 UTC)

Screenshots of these tweets have also been posted on Facebook.

A reverse image search for the photos in these tweets showed that these crashes happened several years ago. The image shown on the left below appears in an October 4, 2014, BBC.com article titled, "USAF F-15 jet crashes in Lincolnshire," which reported that the U.S. Air Force pilot ejected safely before the jet crashed. The image on the right is a screeen capture from a video that was published on the English-speaking Polish news broadcast from tvn24.pl on July 9, 2018. This newscast reported the investigation into the crash of a Polish Air Force MiG-29 in the early morning hours of July 6, 2018. The pilot of this jet ejected but did not survive.


(Image source: bbc.com and tvn24.pl screenshots taken on Sat Feb 26 23:22:27 2022 UTC)

The former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko posted a tweet on February 25, 2022, with a photo of a pilot purported to be the Ghost of Kyiv in a MiG-29. The pilot is shown seated in the cockpit, their face covered by gear, giving a thumbs up.

On February 25, 2022, Snopes debunked a claim that a video showed footage of the Ghost of Kyiv when it was actually footage from a combat simulation game.

Lead Stories debunked another false claim, that the identity of the Ghost of Kyiv was revealed to be "Samuyil Hyde," a take on a long-running internet gag.

  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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