Ukraine offers $2 million cash to Russian pilot who would defect to Ukraine with Kinzhal missile

Last week, Russian mass media wrote that Ukraine would allegedly pay $2 million to a pilot who could steal a MiG-31K fighter jet. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry commented on this information.

Last month, Russian pilot Maxim Kuzminov delivered a Mi-8 military helicopter to Ukraine. For this, he received a reward of $500,000. After that, rumors circulated that Ukraine allegedly agreed to pay four times as much for a MiG-31K with a Kh-47M2 missile.

The U.S. military confirmed that Ukraine had shot down a Kinzhal missile using the U.S.-produced Patriot system. Ukraine said previously it had shot down six Russian Kinzhal missiles in a single night, thwarting a weapon Moscow has touted as a next-generation hypersonic missile that was all but unstoppable.

Kinzhal hypersonic missile debris collected by Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian PAC3 missile shot down a Russian hypersonic missile. Photo Ukrainian MoD.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, called this information a “legend” and a “people’s initiative”. Nevertheless, he added that if a Russian pilot is able to transfer a MiG-31K fighter jet to Ukraine, naturally, he will receive a reward.

Yusov noted that after the successful operation with the Mi-8 helicopter, the Russians began to surrender much more actively. At the same time, last week, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, hinted that military intelligence was negotiating with three more Russian pilots.

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