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The mysterious and suggestive death of the Russian deserter pilot in Spain: A revenge from the Kremlin?


Highlights: The body of Russian deserter Maxim Kuzminov was found in Alicante, Spain, on February 13. The body had six bullet holes, five in the chest and one in the head. The car was found burned in El Campello, 17 kilometers from the Cala Alta residential area. The murder of the deserting pilot on Spanish soil adds acrimony to the relationship between Madrid and Moscow, which is not going through its best moment, writes Ruben Navarrette.

Maxim Kuzminov went to fight in Ukraine. He now appeared dead of six gunshot wounds in a town in Alicante. False documents, a burned-out car, doubts and speculation.

The body that on February 13 horrified the residents of La Cala de La Villa Joiosa in Alicante, a picture-postcard fishing town in Spain, next to Benidorm, had

six bullet holes


Five in the chest and one in the head.

He was lying on the parking ramp of the Cala Alta residential complex and had been run over by his own car, in which the murderers would have escaped.

Hours later,

the car was found burned

in El Campello, 17 kilometers from the Cala Alta residential area.

According to documents found with the body, the victim was a 33-year-old Ukrainian.

It was later learned that, in fact, the fingerprints corresponded to Maxim Kuzminov, a pilot of the 319th helicopter regiment of the Russian Air Force, who defected to Ukraine in August of last year.

Since then,

Russia considered him “a criminal traitor

. ”

The murder of the deserting pilot on Spanish soil adds acrimony to the relationship between Madrid and Moscow, which is not going through its best moment.

Upon learning of the death in prison of the Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, which according to the Kremlin was sudden, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian ambassador in Madrid.

Spain disapproves that Vladimir Putin avoids clarifying the death of one of his greatest enemies.

The Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine, before the press in kyiv, last September.

Photo: AP

The escape

The judge of the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 3 of La Vila Joiosa, who was on duty on the day of the crime at the parking lot door of the Cala Alta residential complex, keeps the case under summary secrecy.

Sources from the Civil Guard indicated that, according to investigators, the papers that identified the body turned out to be false.

The Ukrainian press confirmed, citing military sources, that the fingerprints corresponded to Kuzminov, 28 years old.

He had graduated from the Sizran Aviation School in southern Russia.

Since his country invaded Ukraine in February 2022, he had participated in operations transporting military personnel or cargo.

Never in bombings.

On August 9 of last year, while on a mission near the border between Russia and Ukraine with two colleagues who were unaware of his plan, Kuzminov began flying at a very low altitude.

He silenced the radio and crossed the border.

He landed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where they welcomed him with open arms and murdered his two companions.

Upon landing on Ukrainian soil, those traveling with him did not want to give up and tried to flee.

Ukraine revered him as a hero

and turned his testimony into propaganda.

Kuzminov did not shy away from flashes.

“I don't want to be complicit in Russian crimes,” he said.

He said he cried when he learned of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that Volodymyr Zelensky's government offered him money, a new identity and protection.

“I was trying to understand what my country was doing.

And all I saw was evil, horror and crime.

I didn't want to be part of it,” she noted before the cameras.

He encouraged other Russian pilots to follow in his footsteps


And he added that his parents had accompanied him in the decision and that they were also protected in Ukraine.

¨Spanish civil guards investigate the garage where the body of Russian deserter Maxim Kuzminov was found, in Villajoyosa, Spain, on February 13.


He allowed himself to dream that, perhaps, he would move with his parents to some other European country.

And he had even dared to invite an ex-girlfriend to visit him and enjoy his new life with him.

An encrypted chat

The pilot would have contacted Ukrainian intelligence through an encrypted Telegram chat and, in exchange for leaving Vladimir Putin's army and telling what he knew, he would have received half a million dollars.

Because together with his Mi-8 helicopter,

Kuzminov brought sensitive information on Russian movements


He aired, above all, data about Putin's Army air bases and their communication systems.

At first, Russia believed that the helicopter had been lost on a mission.

It took him a couple of days to wake up to Kuzminov's defection.

Immediately the Military Instruction Committee

opened a case “for treason.”

And the relatives of the two companions who flew with him and were murdered asked for his head.

“If Maxim really did what he did, I hope they find him and kill him,” the wife of one of them told Russian television.

The head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Narishkin, defined him as “a criminal traitor”: “This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse already at the moment when he planned his dirty and terrible crime,” said Narishkin.

How and when did you enter Spain?

The Spanish government avoids reflecting aloud on these questions.

“We must let the investigation progress,” was the only thing the Executive spokesperson, Pilar Alegría, said on the subject.

No one was able to specify how long he had been living in La Villa Joiosa in Alicante, among those clusters of high-class buildings with more than ten floors, much in demand by Eastern European tourism and which Spaniards only usually frequent in the summer, as holiday homes. of week.

In La Villa Joiosa there is an Orthodox church and a supermarket that sells Eastern European products.

No one could recognize the pilot.

His body remains in a chamber at the Alicante Institute of Legal Medicine.

Maxim Kuzminov was murdered three days before the Kremlin announced Navalny's sudden death in a prison in the Arctic Circle.

The shells of the projectiles that riddled Kuzminov and that no one took care to collect were of Russian origin.

One more revenge for Putin?


Source: clarin

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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