19th April 2024
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Defector murdered in Spain was ‘moral corpse’, says Russian spy chief

Russia’s spy chief said on Tuesday that a pilot who defected to Ukraine with a military helicopter and was then reportedly shot dead in Spain was a ‘moral corpse’.

Maxim Kuzminov (main image) flew his Mi-8 helicopter into Ukraine in August last year in a brazen operation, saying he opposed Russia’s military offensive.

Reports in Spanish media said Kuzminov was found shot dead in the southern town of Villajoyosa (Alicante) last week, where he had moved after receiving Ukrainian citizenship for switching sides.

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence confirmed Kuzminov had been found dead in Spain, without providing further details, Ukrainian media reported. Kuzminov’s defection to Ukraine was presented last year as a major coup for Kyiv.

‘In Russia it is customary to speak either good of the dead or nothing at all,’ Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying when asked about Kuzminov.

‘This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse at the very moment when he planned his dirty and terrible crime,’ he said.

Kuzminov served in the ‘319th separate helicopter regiment’ based in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorye region.

Two fellow servicemen on the helicopter were not aware of his plans and were killed when they tried to flee after it landed in Ukraine.

Kyiv’s intelligence agency said it had been planning the mission for more than six months.

Authorities in Spain said they are investigating the death of a person found with multiple gunshot wounds in an underground parking lot on 13 February, but could not confirm their identity.

The Guardia Civil said they found false documents on the body, which identified the man as a 33-year-old Ukrainian under a different name.

Spain’s state news agency, EFE, said the body had been hit by half a dozen bullets and was run over by the car used by the attackers.

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