Ghost of Kyiv Ukraine Video is a Fake Made Using Digital Combat Simulator Game

For those who are closely following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the words “Ghost of Kyiv” might sound familiar; they refer to a Ukrainian fighter pilot who, beating all odds, is shooting down one Russian plane after the other in the skies of the besieged Ukrainian capital. While the claims seem unsubstantiated, a video has surfaced on the internet, capturing the Ghost getting a kill over Kyiv: it has now been proven to be false, filmed in the game Digital Combat Simulator.


Digital Combat Simulator is a popular combat flight simulator, the evolution of the once famous Lock On: Modern Air Combat. Created by developer Eagle Dynamics with a free-to-play model, it features meticulously modeled combat aircrafts, spanning from World War Two era P-51s, to contemporary Sukhois. The simulator also includes a number of attack and transport helicopters, and is renowned for both its realism, and the difficult learning curve associated. While the free base game has little content, numerous DLCs are available, each adding new combat machines.

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In desperate situations, like the one imposed on the Ukrainian people, the morale of the populace is a key factor, and much effort is made in keeping it up. The “Ghost of Kiev” rumors were born from a proven fact, that the small Ukrainian Air Force wasn’t completely destroyed in the initial Russian strike, a fact corroborated by sightings of Ukrainian Mig-29 fighters and Mi-24 helicopters over Kyiv. With the Ukrainian military claiming several Russian planes shot down, so far without confirmation, rumors started regarding a single MiG pilot being responsible for six “kills” over Kyiv; thus the “Ghost of Kyiv” story broadcast, together with a video capturing a MiG-29 shooting down a Russian Sukhoi with an air-to-air missile. The video is false, being taken from a YouTube clip filmed in the DCS flight simulator; interestingly, a video from ARMA 3 has a similar story.

Modern games with realistic graphics are particularly prone to such usage, with captured footage being hardly distinguishable from reality by those not experts in the field. Last, year, Indian TV showed ARMA 3 footage as proof of Pakistani support of the Taliban, with some claiming it as deliberate disinformation.

When a conflict is ongoing, and particularly regarding aircraft shootdowns, it is best to take claims with skepticism and wait for visual confirmation. As for the war, it is endangering millions of civilians across Ukraine, including several developers such as Kyiv-based GSC Game World, which issued a statement regarding the conflict, asking for solidarity with Ukraine and support for its armed forces.

That the war is real, dangerous, and not merely something happening on the other side of the world is reminded to the gaming community by Ukrainian streamer Bobuubi, who suddenly stopped streaming Escape From Tarkov to reach his family the moment Russians started the attack. The hope is that the carnage will stop, and that Bobuubi is somewhere safe.

Digital Combat Simulator is available for PC now.

MORE: 15 Best Free Simulation Games On Steam

Source: Snopes

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