A Russian soldier who had been working with Ukraine's Military Intelligence (HUR) has defected to Ukrainian forces, the military intelligence said on Sept. 30.
The soldier, Daniil Alfyorov, had been working with Ukrainian intelligence since July and had successfully convinced 11 other Russian soldiers to defect to the Ukrainian side, Andriy Yusov, a HUR spokesman, said.
When it became clear that suspicions had arisen and there was a risk to Alfyorov's life, Ukrainian special forces undertook an operation to evacuate him to Ukrainian-controlled territory, Yusov added.
Alfyorov said that he initially contacted Ukrainian forces via the hotline called "I want to live."
Launched in September 2022 by Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence, the 24-hour hotline helps Russians to willingly surrender themselves or their units to the Ukrainian army. Russians are promised that after surrender, they will be held in compliance with the Geneva Conventions.
A report by Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War found in March 2023 that nearly 10,000 Russians had contacted the hotline.
In Aug. 2023, the hotline marked a significant 70% increase in traffic after a Russian helicopter pilot defected to the Ukrainian side with a fully intact Mi-8 helicopter, and subsequently received the hryvnia equivalent of $500,000 (approximately Hr 18.48 million).
In April 2022, Ukraine's parliament passed a law offering up to $1 million to Russian military personnel who manage to transfer equipment to Ukraine. The size of the reward depends on the type of equipment they hand over.
At the time of this publication, it is unknown what Alfyorov's status is in Ukraine, or what his monetary reward may be.