Slain Russian pilot Kuzminov turned down offer to stay in Ukraine under protection
Maksim Kuzminov (Photo: Screenshot from the video)

Russian media announced on Monday the murder in Spain of former Russian military pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who, as part of the special operation of the Ukrainian military intelligence "Synytsia", brought the Russian Mi-8 helicopter to Ukraine. Later, the information about the death of the former soldier was confirmed by Ukraine's Defense Intelligence.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine offered Kuzminov to stay in the country where he "would have definitely been protected", the official said in an interview with Ukrainian Pravda.

"If people have something to do with these or other events (it's better to say that), of course, they should be vigilant, they should care about the situation. Our country's proposal was for him to stay in Ukraine. He would definitely be here protected. And I don't think that they (Russians – ed.) would be able to fool around here like it happened in Spain," he noted.

At the same time, Danilov emphasized that it is necessary to wait for the conclusions of the Spanish side regarding the situation.

The journalist asked whether Ukraine is responsible for Kuzminov's death if he left the country voluntarily.

"Ukraine ensures compliance with the legislation on its territory. Accordingly, each country has its own legislation, and each country complies with its legislation in ensuring the safety of citizens who are in the territory of one or another country," the top security official said.

On February 13, Spanish media reported the murder of a 33-year-old Ukrainian citizen, whose name was not disclosed. At the time of the special operation, Kuzminov was 28 years old.

On February 19, the pro-Russian Italian outlet Il Corrispondente reported on the killing of an ex-soldier. The information was also spread by other propaganda sources. Subsequently, the representative of Ukraine's military intelligence Andriy Yusov confirmed the information about Kuzminov's death in a comment on

Ukraine's military intelligence reported on August 23, 2023 that a Russian Mi-8 military helicopter landed at a Ukrainian airfield after being lured, according to spymaster Kyrylo Budanov. He said the Russian pilot voluntarily transferred the aircraft after his family was secretly transported to Ukraine. Other crew members unaware of this tried to escape but were eliminated.

Later, the identity of the pilot became known as Kuzminov took part in a press conference and gave an interview. He said that the special operation "Synytsia" lasted six months. All this time he was in contact with the Defense Intelligence, and his mother was already living in Kyiv at that time. When asked what will happen next, he said that he will be paid $500,000 and new documents will be made within the framework of a state program.

As of September 5, the helicopter operated by Kuzminov (produced in 2016) was part of the aviation unit of the military intelligence. This helped to better understand the enemy's aviation communications security system, and therefore already affects and will continue to affect countering enemy threats from the sky, military intelligence explained. At the same time, the representative of the HUR Yusov reported that Kuzminov was going to help the Defense Forces in the fight against the Russian military.