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HomeE.U.Man killed last week in Villajoyosa proved to be Russian defector pilot

Man killed last week in Villajoyosa proved to be Russian defector pilot

The man shot dead on 13 February in the garage of an apartment complex in Villajoyosa, Spain, was Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who defected last August to join the Ukrainian army in a helicopter he hijacked from the Russian Air Force, Agencia EFE reported.

The Guardia Civil (Spanish Civil Guard) initially investigated the Villajoyosa case as a settling of scores as the victim had been shot half a dozen times in La Cala.

The documentation found on the victim in Villajoyosa did not match Kuzminov’s, but belonged to a 33-year-old man of Ukrainian nationality. However, it later turned out to be none other than Maxim Kuzminov, who had used a fake passport.

Ukrainian media reported on Monday that a spokesman for Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Andriy Yusov, verified the death of a deserter pilot, although he did not name the place where the body had been found.

A GUR source claimed that the pilot had been shot dead and a burning car, presumably used by the killers during their escape, was found in the neighbouring town of El Campello.

The Russian defection became known last September, when the Ukrainian GUR published materials in which Kuzminov explained how he had been contacted by enemy military intelligence and offered to switch to the Ukrainian side. In the footage, Kuzminov can be seen landing at a military base in Kharkiv Oblast, eastern Ukraine, in a Mi-8 helicopter.

The head of the Ukrainian intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, reported at the time that Kuzminov had crossed the border flying below the radar detection zone together with other crew members who were unaware of his plans and died while trying to escape after landing.

Kuzminov reportedly did not want to go to war and ended up flying the Mi-8 helicopter to Ukraine as part of a joint operation with the country’s intelligence service. He revealed that he contacted representatives of Ukrainian military intelligence, who then guaranteed his safety, offered him new documents and compensation of half a million dollars before proceeding to plan the operation.

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