Maxim Kuzminov, Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine, is dead: Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence

Defence Intelligence of Ukraine

Maxim Kuzminov was given the chance to stay in Ukraine after his defection, however he determined to go elsewhere, a Ukrainian intelligence supply mentioned.


Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who dramatically defected to Ukraine by flying his helicopter throughout the border, is lifeless, in accordance to Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR).

The information comes after the Spanish Civil Guard in Alicante province advised CNN {that a} man had been shot to demise on February 13 contained in the parking storage of an condo constructing in Villajoyosa, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean Sea.

Initially, the Civil Guard mentioned the sufferer was a 33-year-old Ukrainian however later mentioned the id of the physique was nonetheless to be decided and a part of an investigation, which had been sealed by a choose.

A supply at Ukraine’s GUR confirmed to CNN the physique of the person present in Spain was that of Kuzminov, however wouldn’t touch upon how he had died.

The stays of the person shot contained in the storage are thought to nonetheless be in Alicante province underneath the supervision of forensic examiners.

The taking pictures passed off in a neighborhood the place some Russian and Ukrainian expatriates have settled for the reason that struggle started, in accordance to the Villajoyosa metropolis corridor press workplace.

Asked Tuesday whether or not Russia had any information of the demise, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Moscow had no data on the matter.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Director Sergey Naryshkin would additionally not remark immediately on Kuzminov’s demise, however advised reporters the defector had turn out to be “a moral corpse the moment he began planning his dirty and terrible crime,” Russia’s RIA Novosti reported.

Shortly after Kuzminov’s defection, Russian TV aired a phase about him on the “Vesti Nedeli” program, which carried a transparent menace to the defector’s life. In this system, a reporter mentioned that Russia’s personal army intelligence company had already acquired their order with regard to Kuzminov, including that, “its fulfillment is only a matter of time.”

Later within the phase, a person in a army uniform, whose face is proven coated, says: “We can’t let such a thing go, we will punish him for such actions.”

The Freedom for Russia Legion – a bunch related to Ukraine’s GUR made up of Russian nationals combating for Ukraine – expressed their condolences to household and associates of Kuzminov, saying he was a “real warrior and honest man.”

“Ukraine fulfilled all its obligations to Maxim, he received the promised monetary reward for the delivered equipment and had the opportunity to choose to stay in Ukraine and live in peace, continue serving in one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, or go to the EU,” the Legion mentioned in an announcement.

Kuzminov defected in August after Kyiv obtained his household out of Russia undetected, the top of the GUR, Kyrolo Budanov, advised Radio Liberty final yr. Budanov mentioned it was the primary profitable operation of its type.

When Kuzminov flew into Ukraine, the 2 different Russian service members on board the Mi-8 helicopter with him didn’t know what was taking place. The pair have been killed whereas attempting to escape after they realized that they had landed in Ukraine.

“We would prefer (to take) them alive, but it is what it is,” Budanov mentioned on the time.

In an interview printed by the GUR in September, Kuzminov recounted the defection. He advised reporters he fled Russia as a result of he was opposed to the struggle.

“I contacted representatives of Ukrainian intelligence, explained my situation, to which they offered this option: ‘Come on, we guarantee your safety, guarantee new documents, guarantee monetary compensation, a reward,’” the pilot mentioned.

His defection seemingly got here final minute throughout a flight close to the border.

After relaying his location, he mentioned “let’s give it a try, I’m not that far away.”

“Having made a final decision, I flew at an extremely low altitude in radio silence mode. No one understood what was going on with me at all,” Kuzminov mentioned.

CNN’s Victoria Butenko and Andrew Carey reported from Kyiv, Ukraine, and Al Goodman from Madrid

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