The Ghost of Kyiv: Ukraine shares picture of 'mythical' fighter pilot

Ghost of Kyiv (General staff of Ukraine’s armed forces)
Ghost of Kyiv (General staff of Ukraine’s armed forces)
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A picture purported to be of a fighter pilot apparently responsible for shooting down multiple Russian jets has been shared by Ukraine’s armed forces.

The image shows a pilot - who has become known as the 'Ghost of Kyiv' - with their visor and oxygen mask sat in the cockpit of a MiG-29 fighter jet, pointing at the missiles loaded on the bottom of the wings.

It is captioned with the words: "Hello, occupier, I’m coming for your soul!”

Reports of the "Ghost" have spread since Vladimir Putin began invading Ukraine two weeks ago.

It is said the single fighter pilot is responsible for downing 10 Russian aircraft, an incredible feat by one person.

Ukrainian forces shoots down a Russian attack helicopter as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine (Getty)
TOPSHOT - Rafale jet fighters of the French Air Force patrol the airspace over Poland on March 4, 2022, as part of Nato's surveillance system conducted in collaboration with the military aviation of other countries of the Alliance. (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
The French Air Force patrol the airspace over Poland, as the West refuses to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine over fears of a wider conflict (Getty)

The existence of the Ghost is disputed, with many arguing they are simply a myth or used as a term to describe the whole of the Ukrainian Airforce.

Whether real or fake, the rumour has bolstered the fighting spirit of a country which has so far been subjected to brutal attacks on heavily populated cities.

The invasion has caused the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War Two - with over 2.5 million refugees fleeing Ukraine to neighbouring countries.

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Ukraine's ability to keep flying air force jets is a visible demonstration of the country's resilience in the face of attack and has been a morale booster, both to its own military and Ukraine's people, experts have said.

Russia had by far the superior air force at the start of the invasion, but has yet to achieve control over the skies.

KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 11, 2022 - President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pictured during his regular address to the nation, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. The head of state said that we had already reached a strategic turning point and were moving towards our victory. The custom-size photo is courtesy of the press service of the Office of the President of Ukraine. (Photo credit should read UKRINFORM/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Ukrainian armed forces have regularly posted pictures and videos of downed Russian aircraft, claiming to have downed 57 planes so far.

However, their alleged success in shooting down planes has not stop the constant bombardment of cities across the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked his Western allies for a no-fly zone to be enforced over his country - calls which have so far been denied. Since then, in an apparent attempt at compromise, Zelenskyy has also called on the US to provide more warplanes so Ukraine could better defend itself.

Calls for support were once again renewed on Wednesday after Russia was accused of bombing a maternity hospital in Mariupol, which Ukrainian authorities said killed three people including a child.

Another heavily pregnant woman is rescued after the bombing in the besieged city of Mariupol (AP)
A heavily pregnant woman is rescued after the bombing in the besieged city of Mariupol (AP)
KHARKIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 09: Kharkiv Governor's Palace, seat of the Regional Government bombed on first of March in the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 09, 2022 as Russian attacks continue.âââââââ (Photo by Andrea Carrubba/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv lies in tatters after coming under attack from Russian forces (Getty)

Speaking on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said bringing in the no-fly zone would cause direct conflict between Russia and Nato.

Johnson said that while Vladimir Putin had abandoned “all norms of civilised behaviour”, conflict with Russia was something he was determined to avoid.

Speaking on Sky New’s Beth Rigby Interviews, he acknowledged that some of his conversations with Mr Zelensky had been “deeply upsetting” as the Ukrainian leader appealed for more help.

“What’s happened in Mariupol in that maternity hospital really shows that Putin is prepared just to reject, to abandon, all norms of civilised behaviour,” he said.

Watch: Boris Johnson says it is "deeply unsettling" to refuse Ukraine's calls for a no-fly zone

“The difficulty is that there is a line beyond which, quite frankly, the UK and Nato would be deemed to be in conflict – direct conflict – with Russia.

“It’s agonising. It’s absolutely agonising. And I’ve had this conversation at least a couple of times now with Volodymyr, but I think the difficulty is that it will require me to order RAF jets, UK pilots into the air with a mission to shoot down Russian fast jets.

“I think we’ve got to be realistic… there’s a line that is very difficult to cross.”

It comes amid reports that Russia is "re-posturing" for a renewed attack after failing to take control of Ukraine after coming up against fierce resistance.