At the beginning of the war between Ukraine and Russia, a figure in the Ukrainian military dubbed the “Ghost of Kyiv” took the world by storm. 

The pilot was rumored at the start of the war to have destroyed six Russian military aircraft within hours of each other using a MiG-29.

The story went viral on social media with many throwing their support behind the unidentified pilot.

Since the first days of the war, Ukraine has claimed the “Ghost of Kyiv” has shot down more than 40 planes. However, many believe the story was war propaganda. 

Distorted videos on social media showing the “Ghost of Kyiv” were discovered to be old footage or footage from outside Ukraine. 

Nevertheless, the story boosted the morale of the Ukrainian people at a time where the world thought Russia would conquer the country in mere days. 

Now, Ukraine is saying the “Ghost of Kyiv” died in an air battle with Russia, and it has revealed the supposed identity of the pilot.

The Times and Kyiv Post are reporting the Ukrainian defense ministry as saying Major Stepan Tarabalka was the “Ghost of Kyiv,” and he died on March 13. 

The Times says Ukrainian sources confirmed the pilot’s identity and the way he died to the outlet, with local reports saying he was overwhelmed by Russian forces in the sky.

“Tarabalka ‘went to heaven’ during an air battle with overwhelming forces of the Russian invaders,” the defense ministry wrote, according to the Kyiv Post.

He lives on through his spouse, Olena, and 8-year-old son.

Sources told The Times Tarabalka’s helmet and goggles would be auctioned in London.

Whether or not Tarabalka’s story is true, he provided a hope to Ukraine, which has been able to fend off the Russian military for more than two months now. 

Tags Ghost of Kyiv Russia-Ukraine war

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