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Russian pilot who smuggled helicopter to Ukraine killed in Spain: who is behind it

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Russian pilot who smuggled helicopter to Ukraine killed in Spain: who is behind it

Russian pilot Maxim Kuzminov, who hijacked a helicopter for Ukraine, has been shot dead on the territory of Spain. As early as last year, russian intelligence promised to "liquidate" the russian. Find out how the murder happened and what they are saying in Ukraine

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Maxim Kuzminov, a pilot of the 319th separate helicopter regiment of the russian army aviation, who last year hijacked a russian Mi-8 helicopter and landed it in Ukraine, was killed in cold blood in Spain. 


The helicopter hijacking operation


The whole world learnt about Maxim Kuzminov in the summer of 2023, when he hijacked a russian Mi-8 helicopter into Ukraine during Operation Sinitsa, led by Ukrainian intelligence. 


There were two other crew members on board during the flight to Ukraine. After the operation was over, Kuzminov said he persuaded them to surrender, but they refused. Upon landing, they ran out of the helicopter towards the border. The further fate of Maxim Kuzminov's crew members is unknown, but he noted that they could have been liquidated.


For such a daring act, the russian received half a million hryvnias as a reward and decided to move to Spain, despite the fact that he was offered to stay in Ukraine.


"Our country's offer was for him to stay in Ukraine. He would definitely be protected here. And I don't think they would have been able to run amok like that here, as it happened in Spain," - National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in a commentary for Ukrayinska Pravda.


Russian threats


After the helicopter hijacking operation was completed, Kuzminov gave a large interview in which he spoke about the hijacking. Soon the russian intelligence service reacted to the actions of the russian. There they announced an order to liquidate the pilot.


People in uniform, represented by officers of the Directorate General of Intelligence, on the air of federal channels rf threatened that the liquidation of Kuzminov is "a matter of time".


"He will not return to court, I think he won't live to see it", a russian intelligence officer said at the time.


The Directorate General of Intelligence called the pilot a "traitor" and assured that he would allegedly be punished to the full extent of russian law "for treason."




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Kuzminov's murder


The body of the russian pilot was found shot dead in the Spanish town of Villajoyosa, Alicante province, where many russians and Ukrainians are known to live.


Between 6 and 12 bullets were fired at Kuzminov, and then a car drove over the corpse, in which the killers fled the scene. His body was found at the exit of the underground garage of an apartment complex in the Bukhta neighbourhood. It is believed that the killers - there were two of them - were waiting for the russian in the garage where the first shots were fired. From there, Kuzminov tried, but failed, to escape.


To cover any traces of the crime, the killers burned the car used for escape.


In Spain, there is no doubt that the russians, who promised to eliminate Kuzminov, are behind the murder. Some Spanish experts even call the incident an "act of state terrorism".


What is being said in Ukraine about Kuzminov's murder


Apart from the official confirmation of his death, the GUR did not comment on the situation. However, Ivan Stupak, a consultant to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence, spoke about it.


According to him, after moving to Spain, the Russian began to lead a "high-profile" lifestyle and actively spend money. He also made acquaintances among Russians and Ukrainians living in Spain. 


Stupak said that Kuzminov started drinking alcohol and in a conversation with some people claimed that he was "not in danger" because he had protection from Ukrainian intelligence.


"The man received a lot of money. He did not manage it. Or, a small percentage - he lured the special services to catch them red-handed", he said on Channel 5.


We remind you! russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who served several years in prison, died on 16 February in penal colony № 3. What is known about the version of the politician's death and what his team say, read here.


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