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Russian pilot who transferred to Ukraine calls on Russians to follow his example

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 4, 2023 12:42 AM 2 min read
Photo: Maksim Kuzminov, Video Screenshot/Ukrainska Pravda 
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Maksim Kuzminov, the 28-year-old Russian pilot of the Mi-8 helicopter who surrendered to Ukraine after landing in a Ukrainian airfield on Aug. 23, called on other Russian pilots to follow his example.

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

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 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.

Maksim Kuzminov was featured in the documentary "Downed Russian Pilots" that aired on Ukrainian television on Sunday night. The film revealed how the landing was planned and carried out and Kuzminov called on other Russian pilots to follow his lead.

"If you do what I did, this kind of thing, you will not regret it at all. You will be provided for the rest of your life with absolutely everything," Kuzminov stated. "You will be offered work everywhere, whatever you want to do. You will just discover for yourself the world of colors."

The documentary emphasized that Ukraine will provide Russian pilots who decide to defect all the security guarantees provided by law, as well as financial compensation for the transferred military aircraft. Kuzminov reportedly provided  "valuable evidence about Russia's army aviation, communication systems and airfield network."

Finally, Kuzminov stated that there are no fascists or Nazis in Ukraine.

"What is happening now is simply the genocide of the Ukrainian people. Both Ukrainian and Russian. The basis of my action is not to contribute to these crimes. Ukraine will definitely win this war simply because the people have rallied very much... No one wants this war. When Ukraine wins is only a matter of time."

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