Russian Pilot Who Defected To Ukraine Killed In Spain

Authorities in Spain are investigating the discovery of a deceased man, believed to be the Russian helicopter pilot who made headlines last year for defecting to Ukraine, with gunshot wounds.

The daring act of Maxim Kuzminov, who piloted a helicopter into Ukrainian territory and turned himself in, captured global attention in August. Nevertheless, Spanish authorities remain silent on confirming the identity of the man discovered deceased near Alicante just last week.

While Spanish authorities remain silent, Ukrainian intelligence definitively declared Maxim Kuzminov’s death on Monday. Speaking to Ukrayinska Pravda, a spokesperson stated, ‘His demise is confirmed… His decision was to relocate to Spain rather than stay within our borders.’

‘What we know is that he invited his ex-spouse to join him and then he was found shot to death.’

Spanish authorities informed reporters that the deceased individual might have been residing under an assumed identity.

As per the Spanish news agency Efe, the body of Mr. Kuzminov was discovered near a property in the town of Villajoyosa on Spain’s eastern coast. Alongside the remains were documents indicating his nationality, although under a different name.

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The press service of the intelligence agency disclosed the discovery of a scorched car near the crime scene, indicating possible involvement by the perpetrators.Last year, Mr. Kuzminov reportedly made contact with the Ukrainian secret service, informing them of his decision to defect, according to sources.

“Operation Synytsia” eventually saw him fly his Mi-8 helicopter over the border and land it in eastern Ukraine on 9 August.

Regrettably, when the helicopter touched down, two other individuals onboard, unaware of Mr. Kuzminov’s plans, were shot dead while attempting to flee towards the border.

Mr. Kuzminov, who also suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, held Russian forces accountable for the deaths of the two individuals.

Mr. Kuzminov, speaking at a news conference in September, clarified that he changed sides because of his opposition to Russia’s war on Ukraine. He went on to reveal that Ukraine had promised him $500,000 in state payments, new documents, and family protection.

Ukrainian authorities disclosed that they had extended an invitation to Mr. Kuzminov, allowing him to stay in Ukraine.

The secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, said: “He would definitely have been protected here. And I don’t think that they have behaved as disgracefully here as they did in Spain,” he said.

There has been no official comment from Russian authorities, although on Tuesday, Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, said: ‘That traitor and criminal was a moral corpse.’

A few months after Mr Kuzminov defected, Russian state TV showed a man said to be a Russian intelligence officer saying: ‘I don’t think he’ll live long enough to face trial.’

Africa Today News, New York 

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