Fact Check: This is not the photo of Ukrainian ace fighter pilot 'Ghost of Kyiv'

A photo of a fighter jet pilot is being widely shared on social media with the claim that it is the mythical Ukrainian ace fighter pilot ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ who is responsible for shooting down six Russian jets. Netizens are identifying the man as ‘Samuyil Hyde’.

By Misha Rajani  Published on  12 March 2022 10:00 AM GMT
Fact Check: This is not the photo of Ukrainian ace fighter pilot Ghost of Kyiv

Hyderabad: A photo of a fighter jet pilot is being widely shared on social media with the claim that it is the mythical Ukrainian ace fighter pilot 'Ghost of Kyiv' who is responsible for shooting down six Russian jets. Netizens are identifying the man as 'Samuyil Hyde'.

The photo is being shared with the caption, "Ukrainian fighter-ace known as the 'Ghost of Kyiv's real name is Samuyil Hyde, a 36-year-old who was identified as the Mig-29 Pilot accredited with downing 6 Russian Jets (sic)."



This comes amid unverified reports of an ace pilot shooting down enemy jets in Ukraine amid the crisis with Russia.

Fact Check

The 'Ghost of Kyiv' is an unverified story about a Ukrainian ace pilot who is supposedly responsible for shooting down six Russian aircraft during the first day of the Russian invasion. There is no proof that the 'Ghost of Kyiv' even exists, but if such a person does, it's not the man in the photo.

A reverse image search led to a 2018 article by Air Force Times that had published the unedited picture. The caption states that the image was taken in July 2004 when then Capt. Seth Nehring was preparing himself for a mission in an F-16 Fighting Falcon during operation Cooperative Cope Thunder at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Nehring, however, was killed that week along with a Ukrainian pilot when a Su-27 aircraft crashed during an exercise in Ukraine.

The same photo was uploaded on the United States Air Force website along with the photographer and pilot's name. Captain Nehring was an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with California Air National Guard's 194th Fighter Squadron in Fresno.


The face used in the edited viral image is of Sam Hyde (Samuel Whitcomb Hyde), an American comedian, actor, and writer and not 'Samuyil Hyde' as is being claimed. Comparing the viral image with pictures of Hyde, it was clear that the face of the pilot was indeed that of Hyde.


In a 2019 Buzzfeed News video, journalist Craig Silverman talks about Hyde's pictures being falsely shared on the internet, identifying him as a shooter whenever any mass shootings take place. Silverman commented on Hyde being an "internet meme". The video's description clearly states, "Except Sam Hyde is NEVER the shooter — he's a comedian and a meme in the 4chan community."


Although we cannot independently verify the existence of the 'Ghost of Kyiv', it can be said that the photo being shared does not show the Ukrainian ace pilot. An American comic's photograph was morphed onto a US Air Force pilot's photo and shared with the false claim that it shows the photo of the 'Ghost of Kyiv'.

Claim Review:A photo of the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ who has been identified as Samuyil Hyde.
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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