Russian Helicopter Pilot Who Defected Found Dead In Spain

Last August, Maxim Kuzminov took a Russian Mi-8 military helicopter and defected to Ukraine. He seems to have shot two other Russian pilots and was acting on his own by Ukrainian officials who rewarded him with $500,000, a Ukrainian passport, and a new identity. Kuzminov should have stayed in the relative safety of Ukraine because he should have known his days were numbered. Russia looks very unfavourably on traitors, and the FSB finally located Kuzminov and reportedly dispatched him with multiple gunshots in the parking garage of his Spanish apartment building.

Source: The Independent

A Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine last year with a Mi-8 helicopter has been found dead in an underground garage in Spain, Ukrainian officials said.

The body of pilot Maxim Kuzminov was found on 13 February with multiple bullet wounds in southern Spain’s coastal town of Villajoyosa in Alicante, reported Ukrainian and Spanish media on Monday.

Kuzminov defected to Ukraine in August last year and reached the country in a Russian Mi-8 helicopter. He was reportedly living under a different name and identity in Spain with a Ukrainian passport, the report added.

His defection was seen as a major coup for Kyiv following a six-month-long intelligence operation. Ukrainian officials confirmed they had lured him into defecting and arranged for him to land the Mi-8 in Kharkiv.

“He decided to move to Spain instead of staying here [in Ukraine]. From what we know, he invited his ex to his place and was later found shot dead,” Ukrainian news website Ukrainska Pravda reported on Monday, quoting a Ukrainian intelligence source.

Russia’s spy chief didn’t have nice things to say.

Russia’s spy chief Sergei Naryshkin responded to reports of Kuzminov’s death on Tuesday, calling him a “traitor and criminal”.

“In Russia it is customary to speak either good of the dead or nothing at all,” said Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

“This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse at the very moment when he planned his dirty and terrible crime,” Mr Naryshkin was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

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