Menu Close

Russia sent assassins to kill defector pilot in Spain – report

Russia sent assassins to kill defector pilot in Spain - report

Russia sent assassins to kill a Russian defector pilot in Spain last week six months after his escape to Ukraine in a helicopter, El Pais newspaper reported on Thursday, citing Spanish intelligence sources.

“The Spanish intelligence services have no doubt that the Kremlin’s influence was involved in this unprecedented incident in Spain: the assassination in Alicante of Maxim Kuzminov,” the paper stated.

On February 13, someone discovered the body of the victim, who had sustained six gunshot wounds, in Villajoyosa, situated 12 kilometers (seven miles) from the coastal resort of Benidorm. Spanish media reports on Monday revealed that his fingerprints confirmed his identity as Kuzminov.

Kuzminov, aged 33, piloted his Mi-8 helicopter into Ukraine in August, expressing opposition to Russia’s military aggression, with confirmation of his demise provided by Kiev’s GUR military intelligence.

Read more: Russian military accidentally bombed Russia again for the fourth time this month – UK intelligence

While Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence agency expressed satisfaction at news of Kuzminov’s demise, it neither confirmed nor denied Moscow’s involvement.

Assessment of Russia’s alleged role in the assassination

Spanish intelligence sources, cited by El Pais, indicated that the only uncertainty concerned which agency conducted the operation: the SVR, the FSB security service, or Russia’s GRU intelligence agency.

Nevertheless, they acknowledged that acquiring incriminating evidence would be “extremely challenging.”

El Pais, known for its connections to influential circles, also cited diplomatic sources underscoring the severity of the incident, asserting that Spain would react vigorously if Moscow’s complicity was substantiated.

Spanish authorities have refrained from officially affirming the victim’s identity as Kuzminov thus far.

A spokesperson for the Guardia Civil police, overseeing the inquiry, informed AFP on Thursday that there were no updates on the case, while the interior ministry declined to offer comments.

Responding to AFP inquiries, the defense ministry, responsible for Spain’s intelligence apparatus, emphasized allowing the police to conduct their investigation, echoing the government’s stance.

Spanish intelligence officials theorize that the assailants, who have since departed Spain, executed the shooting in an area with a significant Russian community and initially perceived it as a “score-settling” incident.

Following the shooting, the perpetrators fled the scene after striking Kuzminov six times and running him over with his own vehicle.

Subsequently, someone discovered the vehicle completely incinerated in a nearby municipality.

At the time of Kuzminov’s defection, two other Russian military personnel were aboard his helicopter, unaware of his intentions.

They died when attempting to escape after the helicopter touched down in Ukraine, as reported by Kiev’s military intelligence services, which claimed to have spent six months strategizing Kuzminov’s defection.

Russia’s SVR director Sergei Naryshkin applauded news of the pilot’s death on Tuesday.

“This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse the moment he plotted his heinous and despicable act,” he remarked, as relayed by Russian state news agencies.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *