icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
27 Feb, 2024 18:21

New details of Russian traitor pilot’s assassination revealed

Investigators reportedly believe Maxim Kuzminov blew his cover while preparing for his mother’s arrival in Spain, according to El Mundo
New details of Russian traitor pilot’s assassination revealed

Spanish investigators have a new theory about how murdered Russian defector pilot Maxim Kuzminov gave away his real identity before his  assassination, news outlet El Mundo has reported.

Last August, the military pilot hijacked a Russian Mi-8 cargo helicopter and flew it to Ukraine, reportedly for a $500,000 reward. His two fellow Russian crew members were reportedly “liquidated” by Kiev upon his arrival. He was reportedly given a Ukrainian passport and moved to Spain, where he lived under an alias in the resort town of Villajoyosa.

On February 13, his body was found in the resort, riddled with bullets and run over by a car.

While Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles has said the country’s authorities were previously unaware of Kuzminov’s real identity, El Mundo reported on Monday that Madrid knew about the defector’s presence in Spain “from the first day.”

The outlet claimed that investigators have moved away from their initial theory that Kuzminov was traced by his assailants while trying to get in touch with his girlfriend, and currently believe he blew his cover when he began making arrangements for his mother to join him in Alicante – a Spanish province where a large number of Russians reside.

Irina Kuzminova, the traitor pilot's mother, is said to have left Russia some time before her son hijacked the Mi-8, under the pretext of a trip to Korea. She instead moved to Ukraine where she still lives in “hiding under the protection of Kiev agents,” the report said.

Kuzminov’s “fatal mistake,” Spanish investigators reportedly believe, was using an old relationship to contact his loved ones and making calls with a Ukrainian cell phone, which is thought to have been tapped.

El Mundo also reported that the late pilot’s former classmate and ex-girlfriend, Russian national Elizaveta Ponomareva, could have played “some role” in his murder as she was the only person with whom he was seen in public, according to photographs taken shortly before his death.

While Spanish officials believe that Kuzminov’s murder was orchestrated by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) as payback for the Mi-8 incident, Moscow has denied being behind the former officer’s death.

While he has not commented on the hit itself, SVR chief Sergey Naryshkin called Kuzminov a “traitor and a criminal” who had become a “moral corpse” the moment he decided to carry out his betrayal.

Kuzminov’s estranged father, Oleg Sivaev, also told Russian media that his son’s untimely end had not come as a surprise, calling him a “Judas” who sold out his country for a fistful of dollars.