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Friday April 19, 2024

Russian pilot Maxim Kuzminov who defected to Ukraine killed in Spain

Maxim Kuzminov said he switched sides because he opposed Russia's war on Ukraine

By Web Desk
February 20, 2024
Maxim Kuzminov was killed in Spain. — CNN/File
Maxim Kuzminov was killed in Spain. — CNN/File

The body of a man who was shot dead in Spain is believed to be that of a Russian helicopter pilot who defected to Ukraine last year, BBC reported.

Maxim Kuzminov turned himself in in August after flying a chopper into Ukrainian territory. He had contacted the authorities before his defect.

"Operation Synytsia" eventually saw him fly his Mi-8 helicopter over the border and land it in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence verified Kuzminov's death on Monday, saying, "He chose to relocate to Spain rather than stay here.

"We do know that after inviting his ex-spouse to accompany him, he was discovered shot to death." Spanish authorities believe that the victim may have been living under a false identity.

According to local news sources, Kuzminov's body was discovered next to documents that confirmed his identity but had a different name. He was found next to a home in the town of Villajoyosa on Spain's eastern coast.

The intelligence agency's press office has shared that a burnt-out car used by the attackers was found near the scene of the crime.

During a news conference in September, Kuzminov said he switched sides because he opposed Russia's war on Ukraine. He also said that Ukraine promised him $500,000 (£397,000) in state payments, new documents, and protection for his family.

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