Russian Pilot Maxim Kuzminov, who Fled to Ukraine,’shot dead’ in Spain

Authorities in Spain are investigating the death of a man, suspected to be the Russian helicopter pilot who fled to Ukraine.

Maxim Kuzminov flew a helicopter into Ukrainian territory in August and surrendered himself.

Spanish authorities have not officially verified the identity of the individual who was fatally shot close to Alicante recently.

Ukrainian intelligence officially confirmed Mr Kuzminov’s passing on Monday.

A representative informed the Ukrainian outlet Ukrayinska Pravda that they can confirm the individual’s passing… He opted to relocate to Spain instead of staying here.

It has been reported that he invited his former partner to accompany him, and later he was discovered deceased from a gunshot wound.

According to Spanish authorities, the victim may have been residing under a false identity, as reported by the BBC.

As per a report from the Spanish news agency Efe, Mr Kuzminov’s body was discovered near a property in the town of Villajoyosa on Spain’s eastern coast, along with documentation that matched his nationality but had a different name.

According to the intelligence agency’s press service, a burnt-out car apparently used by the attackers was discovered near the crime scene.

According to reports, Mr. Kuzminov reached out to the Ukrainian secret service last year to notify them of his intention to defect.

He flew his Mi-8 helicopter over the border and landed it in eastern Ukraine on 9 August as part of “Operation Synytsia.”

Two additional individuals on board, who were unaware of Mr. Kuzminov’s intentions, were fatally shot when they attempted to flee towards the border after the helicopter touched down. Mr Kuzminov, who sustained a gunshot wound to his leg, accused Russian forces of being responsible for the deaths.

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At a press briefing in September, Mr Kuzminov explained that he changed his allegiance due to his opposition to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

He mentioned that Ukraine had offered him $500,000 (£397,000) in state payments, additional documents, and security for his family.

Ukrainian officials stated that they had extended an invitation to Mr. Kuzminov to remain in Ukraine.

The secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, stated that there would have been protection provided. “I don’t believe their behaviour here was as disgraceful as it was in Spain,” he remarked.

There has been no official comment from Russian authorities. However, on Tuesday, Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, stated, “That traitor and criminal was a moral corpse.”

Shortly after Mr Kuzminov’s defection, Russian state TV aired a clip of a man claiming to be a Russian intelligence officer stating: “I doubt he will survive to stand trial.”

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