Fact Check: Ukraine's First Female Fighter Pilot 'Natasha Perakov' Did NOT Die In Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Ukraine's First Female Fighter Pilot 'Natasha Perakov' Did NOT Die In Russia-Ukraine Conflict Not Natasha

Did Ukraine's "first female fighter pilot" Natasha Perakov die after sustaining critical wounds in the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict? No, that's not true: Not only is a picture used to identify Perakov actually of another service member in the Ukrainian military, but there is no evidence that "Natasha Perakov" even exists, let alone that she was the first female fighter pilot in the country.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on March 1, 2022, that had an image of a woman in fatigues wearing makeup. The caption of the post reads:

#UkrWarReport
Natasha Perakov, Ukraine's first female fighter pilot has died today, she was heavily wounded. There are also sad news that the "Ghost of Kiev" is missing in action.
Glory and Eternal Memory to the Heroes!

This fact check will only cover the claim about Perakov.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on March 2, 2022:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Mar 2 18:39 2022 UTC)

The picture in the Facebook post is of Olesya Vorobey, a participant in a beauty contest in Starobilsk, Ukraine. The contest was held for women serving in the Ukrainian military and law enforcement. According to this 2016 article from the Ukrainian military, Voroba was the representative for the Ukrainian armed forces. The article only specified that she was a part of an anti-terrorist operation and served in the West Operational Command, not that she was a fighter pilot.

Although the Los Angeles Times has referred to former Ukrainian military pilot and politician Nadia Savchenko as the first female combat pilot in Ukraine, Lead Stories could only confirm that Savchenko had to petition to be accepted into Ukraine's Kharkiv University of Air Force.

Lead Stories also searched for the name "Natasha Perakov" using Google's search engine. The search only generated results published within a week before the publication of this fact check. Although some of the results referred to Perakov as a notable military pilot, there is no additional information about her outside of the claim.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict can be found here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:


  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a U.S. based fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion