The claim: An image shows a Russian Su-34 aircraft shot down in Kyiv
A rumor that a mysterious Ukrainian fighter pilot, dubbed the “Ghost of Kyiv,” shot down six Russian jets has circulated widely on social media. The story is unverified, but some social media users claim an image shows one of the jets.
A Facebook post shared March 6 shows a black-and-white photo of an aircraft in the middle of a forested area.
“Su-34 shot down by Ukrainian Fighter Ace over Kiev,” reads the caption of the post. “pUtIn iS sCaReD.”
The post generated over 3,000 interactions in less than a week. But the claim is false, as independent fact-checking organizations have reported.
The image shows a U.S. aircraft that crashed at an airfield in Papua New Guinea. It was taken in 1944.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Image shows US aircraft in 1944
The image in the post shows a U.S. B-17 aircraft that crash-landed at the Tadji Airfield in Papua New Guinea, according to Pacific Wrecks. Its “right wheel collapsed,” causing it to “skid off the runway” at the airfield, the nonprofit says on its website.
The U.S. Army Air Force captured the image May 4, 1944, during World War II. The aircraft’s parts have since been dismantled, according to Pacific Wrecks.
Our fact-check sources:
- Check Your Fact, March 9, FACT CHECK: DOES THIS PHOTO SHOW A RUSSIAN SU-34 SHOT DOWN OVER KYIV?
- Pacific Wrecks, March 10, B-17F-25-BO
- Pacific Wrecks, May 4, 1944, B-17F “Harry the Horse” 41-24548
- TinEye, accessed March 11
- Pacific Wrecks, Aug. 19, 2021, Hollandia (Jayapura)
- Getty Images, accessed March 11, Sukhoi SU-34 aircraft
- Military Factory, Feb. 28, Sukhoi Su-34 (Fullback)
- The National World War II Museum, accessed March 11, Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress
- Airforce Technology, Sept. 4, 2020, Su-34 (Su-32) Fullback Fighter Bomber
- CNN, Oct. 3, 2019, The B-17 bomber that crashed was one of 13,000 made. They were true workhorses
- USA TODAY, March 4, ‘We will fight and win’: Ukrainian civilians find ways, big and small, to resist Putin’s invasion
- Deutsche Welle, March 1, Fact check: Ukraine’s ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ fighter pilot
- Dreamstime, accessed March 11, SU-34 fighter jets