On August 23, a Russian pilot landed his Mi-8 helicopter at a Ukrainian airfield and surrendered. Now the 28-year-old is calling on other Russian pilots to do the same, reported the Kyiv Independent.
He addresses his comrades directly: “If you do what I have done, you will not regret it at all. You will be provided with everything for the rest of your lives”, he promises. “You will also be offered work everywhere, whatever you want to do.”
Also, the Russian pilot clears up the Russian propaganda that there are only Nazis and fascists in Ukraine. “What is happening now is simply genocide of the Ukrainian people. Both of the Ukrainian and Russian. The basis of my action is not to contribute to this crime. Ukraine will win this war, no matter what, simply because the people have rallied so much… Nobody wants this war. When Ukraine wins is just a matter of time.”
The pilot, named by Ukrainian officials as Maxim Kuzminov, explained in the interview how he planned his defection and why he felt compelled to do so.
“I contacted representatives of Ukrainian intelligence, explained my situation, to which they offered this option: ‘Come on, we guarantee your safety, guarantee new documents, guarantee monetary compensation, a reward,’” the pilot said, in a recording released Monday.
The head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, Kyrolo Budanov, revealed in August how Ukrainian officials had been able to help the pilot to defect.
“We were able to create the conditions to get his whole family out undetected, and eventually create the conditions so that he could take over this aircraft with a crew that did not know what was happening,” Budanov told Radio Liberty at the time.
“Two more people were with him – a full crew of three persons in total. When they realized where they had landed, they tried to escape. Unfortunately, they were eliminated. We would prefer (to take) them alive, but it is what it is.”
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