Zelenskyy and his spy chief grabbed a photo with what looks like the Mi-8 helicopter a Russian pilot secretly flew to Ukraine in a daring defection – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Zelenskyy and his spy chief grabbed a photo with what looks like the Mi-8 helicopter a Russian pilot secretly flew to Ukraine in a daring defection

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian spy chief Kyrylo Budanov pose with a Mi-8 helicopter

President of Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posed with Ukrainian spy chief Kyrylo Budanov in front of a Mi-8 helicopter.The Mi-8 helicopter appears to be the one a Russian pilot flew to Ukraine in a daring defection.In August, the pilot flew low and with his radio off into Ukraine after six months of planning. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posed for a photo with the head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov in front of a Mi-8 helicopter.

The helicopter in question appears to be the one flown by a Russian pilot into Ukraine in a daring defection carried out on August 9, 2023.

News that a Russian pilot defected to Ukraine in the same type of helicopter emerged in August, and additional details about the secret plot were revealed in a dramatic video released by Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence in early September.

The Mi-8 helicopter in the photo, taken to commemorate the Day of Military Intelligence of Ukraine, has the number “62” on it as does one shown in the video released by Ukraine.

Mi-8 helicopter from Ukrainian video of the defection of the Russian pilot.

Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

The additional information about the defection included an interview with the pilot, Maksym Kuzminov, a 28-year-old former captain in Russia’s 319th separate helicopter regiment, in which he encouraged others to defect and explained why he chose to leave Russia.

“What is happening now is simply genocide of the Ukrainian people: both Ukrainian and Russian,” Kuzminov said, adding that he defected because he didn’t want to be involved in committing war crimes.

The Russian pilot who defected speaks in an interview.

Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

Kuzminov reached out to Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence at the end of 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported, and the plan was then put into motion. He communicated with Ukrainian defense officials via the encrypted messaging app Telegram and came up with a plan to fly the stolen Russian helicopter into Ukraine.

Kuzminov’s parents were taken out of Russia before he defected.

The pilot said he flew at an extremely low altitude and in radio silence mode to avoid detection during the defection on August 9.

Ukraine has sought to incentivize Russian troops to defect since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed a law last year courting demoralized Russian troops, offering monetary rewards to Russians who defected with their equipment.

A helicopter fetches the equivalent of $500,000, the legislation says, and a Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson confirmed this week that Kuzminov will get the full payout.

Two other crew members were on board who were not aware of the defection, and when they tried to flee they were “eliminated,” Budanov told Radio Free Europe in August.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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