Veteran Ukrainian Top Gun Grandfather, who commanded the famed “Ghost of Kyiv” pilot division, was killed in action.
The 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Air Force, which patrolled the skies above the city, was led by Colonel Mykhailo Matyushenko.
The division was the home of the legendary “Ghost of Kyiv,” who was subsequently exposed as a fake circulated by Ukraine to raise morale and was credited with shooting down 40 Russian aircraft.
Today, Matyushenko’s burial is being conducted in Bucha, the hamlet of horrors outside of Kyiv where Russia is said to have committed horrifying war crimes. Matyushenko perished during a mission over the Black Sea.
In a Facebook post honoring the airman, the town’s mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, wrote: “Matyushenko passed on his precious knowledge to the future generation of fighter pilots.”
Only now can we reveal the truth: a pilot from Bucha served as the leader of “The Ghosts of Kiev.”
Before Putin’s heinous invasion, Matyushenko worked as a manager for a Ukrainian airline and served in a variety of military units. He also piloted commercial planes.
Fedoruk claimed that the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade never lost an aerial battle while under Matyushenko’s leadership.
One day, in an Aero L-39 Albatross training aircraft, “Grandfather” raced into an air fight, according to his buddies.
He was acting out a Ukrainian MiG-29 strike on two Russian Su-30s whose pilots had been duped and had fled.
He then made an attempt to increase Ukraine’s authority over the airspace over the southern and eastern fronts after seizing control of the skies above the city.
After the 61-year-old drowned in the Black Sea in June, a search and rescue operation was launched, and yesterday, his corpse was found and flown back to its family.
The ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ tale, which went viral the day following Putin’s invasion, came to represent Ukraine’s brazen resistance to Russia.
To protect the city, the fictitious pilot from the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade is said to have shot down 40 Kremlin fighter jets.
However, when Air Force Major Stepan Tarabalka, 29, was mistakenly identified as the pilot, the Ukrainian military later admitted the icon was only a fake to help raise morale.
“The Ghost of Kyiv is a super-hero mythology whose figure was developed by Ukrainians,” the air force said at the time.
“The report of The Ghost of Kiev’s demise is false.
The Tactical Aviation Brigade’s highly skilled pilots are successfully protecting Kyiv and the surrounding area, and their collective spirit is embodied in “The Ghost Of Kyiv,” which is said to be alive.
On March 13, a genuine pilot named Mr. Tarabalka lost his life in action. He received the honorary title of Ukrainian Hero after his death.
On social media, memes, images, and even video from a flight simulator game purported to show the Ghost of Kyiv in action.
A day later, the former leader of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, tweeted a picture that had been posted by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense three years previously and “showed” that the Ghost of Kyiv had shot down six Russian pilots.
People refer to him as the Ghost of Kyiv. Two days later, Ukraine’s official Twitter account posted a video with the same image and footage of fighter planes engaged in battle mixed to throbbing music.
“And rightfully so—this UAF ace rules the skies above our nation’s capital and has already turned into a nightmare for invading Russian planes,” the speaker said.
By the time news organizations mistook the pilot for Tarabalka, reports had brought the ghost’s death toll to 40 aircraft.
Ukraine’s General Staff posted a picture of the illustrious fighter seated in the cockpit two days before his death.
“Hello, occupier, I’m coming for your soul!” was the caption.
Tarabalka was born in the Ukrainian hamlet of Korolivka to a working-class family.