Footage shows flight simulator game, not Russian fighter jet being shot down

CLAIM: Video shows the Ukrainian air force shooting down a Russian air force fighter jet in Kyiv.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The footage is from the video game Digital Combat Simulator, according to the YouTube user who uploaded the clip on Feb. 24.

THE FACTS: Social media users on Thursday misrepresented footage from a video game showing close combat between two fighter jets, claiming the clip showed the Ukrainian air force shooting down a Russian fighter.

“Footage of a MiG-29 of the Ukrainian Air Force shooting down a Su-35 fighter jet of#Russia’s Air Force over Ukraine’s capital#Kyiv today,” reads one false tweet.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine’s official Twitter account also shared the clip with the false caption.

A YouTube user “Comrade_Corb,” who posted the clip on Feb. 24, wrote in the caption that the video is from the digital battlefield game, Digital Combat Simulator. “This footage is from DCS, but is nevertheless made out of respect for ‘The Ghost of Kiev,’” the user wrote without providing further identification. The video’s point of view movement is seamless just like a game.

“The video was made with 100% Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) footage as stated in the video’s description,” the user told The Associated Press in an email, also confirming that the audio was added from another video being shared during the conflict. “DCS is a very realistic-looking flight sim program that allows for cinematic footage to be captured.”

“The Ghost of Kiev” is the name being given to a rumored Ukrainian fighter pilot, said to have shot down six aircraft doing battle from his MiG-29. While the story has circulated widely online it is generally seen as myth.

The Associated Press reached out to Eagle Dynamics, the company that makes the game, but did not hear back at the time of publication.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.