Simulation Clip Passed Off as ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ Shooting Down Russian Jets
The clip was made on a game called Digital Combat Simulator World and isn't actual footage of the 'Ghost of Kyiv.'
The Quint DAILY
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A short clip showing a fighter jet in cloudy skies, chasing after another before shooting it down mid-air, is being shared on social media platforms with a claim that the footage shows the 'Ghost of Kyiv' defending Ukraine by shooting down Russian fighter jets in Ukrainian airspace.
Unconfirmed reports of an ace fighter pilot, dubbed the 'Ghost of Kyiv,' shooting down multiple Russian combat aircraft have emerged amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, we found that the clip being shared as the 'Ghost's work' is actually from a simulator designed by Switzerland-based Eagle Dynamics, called the Digital Combat Simulator World or DCS World.
While we cannot make any confirmed statements on the existence of the 'Ghost of Kyiv,' we were able to confirm that the video is not actual footage of aerial combat.
The short clip of one airborne jet shooting down the other is being shared across social media platforms, expressing pride and commending ace pilot 'Ghost of Kyiv' for doing a great job of defending Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government's verified Twitter account also shared a section of this video in a compilation of visuals of fighter jets and pilots, acknowledging the 'ace' of the Ukrainian Air Force.
Hindi news channel ABP Live used stills from this video in a bulletin while reporting on Ukraine's response to the Russian Air Force.
Archived versions of more such claims across social media can be seen here and here.
The Quint received a query for the video's verification on its WhatsApp tipline as well.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Under one claim uploaded to YouTube, which identified the Ukrainian jet as a MiG-29 and the Russian aircraft as Su-35, we saw comments noting that the visuals were taken from a video game called 'DCS.'
Taking a clue from here, we added 'DCS' to a keyword search, which included the jet model names on YouTube. The results led us to the same clip, uploaded to a channel called 'Comrade_Corb' on 25 February.
This video's title and description noted that the video had been 'simulated' and that the footage was from the DCS. The uploader added that they made it "out of respect for the Ghost of Kiev," despite not knowing whether they were a real person.
Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) World is a free-to-use simulator created by Switzerland-based Eagle Dynamics and was first released in 2008.
The game's website led us to their Twitter account, where we saw an appeal for users to "avoid generating images that could be misconstrued" in such times.
The forum for the game on the developer's website also carries the same text in the form of a statement on the misleading use of DCS videos.
The Quint then contacted Eagle Dynamics over email for their input on the viral video. The company confirmed that the video was made using DCS World.
Eagle Dynamics also added that they "made their community aware" of the misleading use and asked users to refrain reenacting "real world situations with our simulator software."
While we cannot independently verify the existence or actions of the 'Ghost of Kyiv' in the armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, we found that the video being circulated as the Ghost's work is taken from a combat simulator game.
(Update: The article has been updated with Eagle Dynamics' response to the viral video's creation.)
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