Russian pilot shot dead in Spain!
FILE Russian pilot Maksym Kuzminov speaks to journalists during a press conference on special operation 'Synytsia' (Tit) of the Ukrainian intelligence service to hijack a Russian military helicopter, in Kyiv, 05 September 2023. EPA/STR

Russian pilot shot dead in Spain!


Alicante, Spain/Moscow/Kyiv, Feb 20 (EFE).-

A Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine in the summer was shot dead last week near Alicante on the eastern coast of Spain, Spanish police have confirmed.

Moscow has confirmed that Maxim Kuzminov was a “traitor” who had defected after flying a helicopter on Aug. 9 last year to Ukraine, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin said Tuesday.

Kuzminov’s body was found in a garage in a residential area in the town of Villajoyosa, Spanish police told Efe on Monday.

His body was discovered with six bullets and according to witnesses, the alleged assailants drove their vehicle over him before fleeing the scene in what police are treating as a settling of scores.

Police believe he was living in Spain under a false identity as the documentation found on his body did not match Kuzminov’s.

According to Ukrainian media the Kyiv Post, a representative of the Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR), Andri Yusov, confirmed the pilot’s death, although he did not mention the place where the body was found.

According to the GUR source, Kuzminov had decided to move to Spain instead of staying in Ukraine.

The Russian’s defection became public in September last year when the Ukrainian GUR published footage in which the pilot, then 28 years old, explained how he was contacted by Ukraine’s military intelligence which offered him money and protection to defect.

The video showed Kuzminov landing his Mi-8 combat helicopter at a military base in the Kharkiv border region of eastern Ukraine.

Kuzminov crossed the border by flying below radar detection along with other crew members who were unaware of the pilot’s plans and were killed when they tried to flee after landing, the head of the Ukrainian GUR, Kirilo Budanov, reported at the time.

Budanov also explained that Ukrainian military intelligence had managed to get the defector’s family out of Russia.

The pilot graduated from the Sizran Aviation School in southern Russia and was posted to the Russian Far East, where among his peers he had a reputation as a “quiet person” and asked for “peaceful work” — cargo operations that had nothing to do with military combat missions — according to the Russian Telegram channel Baza.

His friends say Maxim was “afraid of dying in the war” and wanted to leave the army even before the start of the invasion of Ukraine. He was also terrified of being captured in Ukraine, they said.

The pilot’s colleagues claim that his girlfriend, who was unaware of his plans, stayed in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

According to Baza, Kuzminov’s mother also reportedly left Russia before her son defected.

Once in Ukraine, Kuzminov said he did not want to be involved in war crimes and asked other Russian pilots to follow his example.

He said he had contacted representatives of Ukrainian military intelligence, who guaranteed his safety, offered him new identity documents and compensation.

Meanwhile in Russia, the Military Instruction Committee has opened a “treason” case against Kuzminov, while the relatives of his two comrades who were killed after their helicopter landed in Ukraine demanded that he pay with his life for defecting.

Kuzminov’s crewmates were decorated post mortem by Russian authorities.EFE


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