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Media: Russian helicopter pilot surrenders to Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 23, 2023 5:30 PM 2 min read
A Russian Mi-8 military helicopter flies over a joint Russian and Turkish convoy (not pictured) as it patrols oil fields near the town of al-Qahtaniyah, Syria', on Feb. 4, 2021. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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A Russian pilot landed his Mi-8 helicopter at an airfield in Ukraine to give himself up to the authorities, Ukrainian media reported on Aug. 23.

The landing was part of a long-term Ukrainian operation, according to Ukrainska Pravda media outlet.

According to the outlet, which cited high-rank sources in the intelligence, the surrender was the result of more than six months of work by the Ukrainian military intelligence to bring the Mi-8 helicopter and its pilot to Ukraine.

The sources added that the pilot's family was evacuated from Russia and is in Ukraine with the pilot.

Two other crew members on board did not know where the helicopter was headed and were killed, Ukrainska Pravda wrote.

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The helicopter was supposed to transport parts for Russian Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets but landed in Kharkiv Oblast, along with the parts it was supposed to deliver.

The Russian Telegram channel "Fighterbomber" claimed the crew was taken prisoner by Ukraine after the helicopter landed by mistake in Poltava Oblast two weeks ago after crossing the border with Russia.

Poltava Oblast does not border Russia nor any Russian-occupied territory.

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Ukraine's Military Intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov confirmed the story on Ukrainian television and said more information would be released soon.

He did not specify where the helicopter landed, but told Hromadske that it did not land in Poltava Oblast.

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