Ukraine offers $5 million for a Russian pilot who would defect to Ukraine with a Su-57 jet

Last week, Russian mass media wrote that Ukraine would allegedly pay $5 million to a pilot who could steal a Su-57 fighter jet. The Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry commented on this information.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with conference rules, declined to discuss which specific systems have been captured and passed over to intelligence groups and industry, but the revelation provides new evidence of the ways in which the UK is actively gaining first-hand insight to Kremlin technologies.

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 $2 million 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.

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 Su-57 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.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, said early on Tuesday that regaining control of the Boyko Towers was important as the structures were used by Russian forces for “all sorts of monitoring, control, and surveillance sensors, expanding the Russian operational capabilities” in the Black Sea. The special operations are believed to be black ops of Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR).

Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) wants similar black ops to retrieve a Russian Su-57 fighter jet for analysis and data collection purposes.

In 1976, the Cold War was going strong with the United States and the Soviet Union leading a frantic arms race and the polarization of the world between the capitalist and socialist blocs. But exactly 46 years ago, the desertion of a young pilot with a modern fighter jet entered history and brought animosity between Japan, the USA and the USSR. 

The MiG-25 used by Lieutenant Viktor Belenko to flee to Japan.

Lieutenant Viktor Belenko was 29 years old and a pilot in the 513th Fighter Regiment of the Soviet Air Defense Forces (PVO). The unit employed the most powerful fighter aircraft in the USSR’s arsenal, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25, called the Foxbat by NATO. 

The defection of Viktor Belenko took place on September 6, 1976, when Lieutenant Viktor Belenko of the Soviet Air Defence Forces flew his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25P “Foxbat” aircraft from near Vladivostok in the Far East of the Soviet Union to Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido Prefecture of Japan.

Lieutenant Viktor Belenko flew a MiG-25 Foxbat aircraft and landed in Japan. The aircraft had entered service six years earlier, and in the Western world, little was known about it. In fact, the MiG-25 was feared, surrounded by myths and assumptions that it was a very modern and extremely agile fighter, which was later proven to be completely false.

The UK has recovered Russian military equipment lost to Ukrainian forces and handed it over to national intelligence agencies and industry partners in order to identify weaknesses and develop new defensive aids and countermeasures.

Retrieving a Su-57 would be a great opportunity for Western intelligence to study Su-57 and develop countermeasures for the Russian system.

The official said that being able to “undermine the credibility” of the Russian systems will lead to the creation of market opportunities for “alternative solutions,” a clear hint that industry has been instructed to interrogate the Russian equipment and design superior countermeasures. The UK is also ensuring Ukrainians benefit from the newfound knowledge.

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