Russian Defector Gunned Down in Europe

( – Spain’s National Police announced that officers found the body of a Russian soldier who defected to Ukraine last year. Spanish authorities said that the victim was identified as Maksim Kuzminov. They added they found him with multiple gunshot wounds in numerous parts of his body in the town of La Cala, near the capital city of Madrid.

The Russian defector made headlines last year as he suddenly abandoned his post in Russia by stealing an army helicopter and flying over the front lines into Ukraine’s territory. The Ukrainian armed forces declared back then that Kuzminov escaped as part of an operation prepared by Ukraine’s intelligence services for months, encouraging the Russian soldier to defect and preparing the conditions for his move.

Kuzminov escaped from Russia in a Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter that was loaded with numerous parts of Russia’s Sukhoi fighter jets. While some reports said that this was part of the plan, Ukrainian officials never confirmed if the intelligence services demanded Kuzminov bring the jet parts to Ukraine.

During a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andrii Yusov, confirmed his death. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergei Naryshkin told local reporters in Moscow that the Russian defector was indeed killed in Spain. He described Kuzminov as a “criminal” and a “traitor” who betrayed his home country and turned into a “moral corpse” who planned a “terrible” and “dirty” crime.

Some media outlets said that Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Alex Danilov allegedly told Kuzminov on numerous occasions that he should stay in Ukraine. Danilov reportedly claimed that he would remain safe in the capital, Kyiv, unlike any other Western nation.

Spanish Civil Guard officials said in a statement that Kuzminov’s body was found with six gunshots and that it had been run over by a car. They added that the Russian defector’s body was planted with some documents that identified him as a Ukrainian citizen.

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