September 5, 2023, 14:05

For me, the most important thing was to end my involvement with these crimes – a Russian pilot about his position on the war unleashed by Russia and cooperation with the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine 

Russian pilot, 28-year-old Maxim Kuzminov, who drove a Mi-8 helicopter to Ukrainian territory during the Titmouse special operation, told about the details of his work, his own motives, and cooperation with the Main Directorate of Intelligence during a press conference at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform

On his active military service in Russia before the full-scale invasion

“I served in the 13984 military unit, Chernigovka, Primorsky Krai. At the time of the war, I stayed in the Amur region, acting as the chief of aviation for the construction of the Baikal-Amur highway. That is, I was not at the point of permanent deployment but on a business trip.”

On his own position regarding the war unleashed by Russia

“What was the impetus for my decision? It was full awareness and full understanding of what was happening. And I decided for myself that this crime is the most brutal. I simply decided for myself that I would never be any part of this, no matter what. Yes, I still have an airplane in Russia. Yes, I have good pay there, two apartments, and almost a retirement earnings opportunity. I had a lot of things that kept me there, but it’s not important to me now. The most important thing for me was to end my involvement with these crimes.”

On working during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine

“I had to transport troops and cargo, only transportation tasks. No strikes. I didn’t do any of that. If I had to, I wouldn’t have done any of this outright. Most of the time, I was transporting people through Russia, i.e., I had to transport some cargo, maybe even passengers or spare parts, from point A to point B. Sometimes, of course, I had to fly into the territory of Ukraine for the same purpose: to transport troops. I was in Mariupol, I was in Berdiansk.”

In cooperation with the Main Directorate of Intelligence 

“I was a Main Directorate of Intelligence Telegram news channel subscriber. I followed the updates, and I was interested in information about what was happening and how. And there were contacts under the posts. I contacted them, we set up a secret chat and started a correspondence. No one imposed their opinion on me in any way, and it was my decision. No one forced me. No one blamed me for anything. It was all my own decision. And for the next six months, we planned routes, thought about how best to do it, how to make it safer, and then, in fact, on the 9th, it all happened.”

In the course of the special operation

“On the 9th, the flight took place. I had an official request for the flight. That is, I didn’t just hijack the helicopter. I officially drove it from point A to point B. The route and landing site had already been agreed upon in advance. At 4:30 p.m., I took off from the Kursk airfield to the Kharkiv region, about 20 kilometers from the border. Then, somewhere near the village of Shebekino, I flew at an extremely low altitude, 5-10 meters, and went radio silent. When I was crossing the border, they started shooting at me. I can’t say for sure who was the one to fire, but I think it was the Russian side. I was shot in the leg with small arms.

I flew about 20 kilometers away and landed in the specified place. After landing, I was accompanied by two crew members. We did not have weapons with us, and our pilots flew unarmed. No one could put up any resistance to me, given that the navigator had no helicopter piloting skills. I calmed the guys down and told them that I would be fine, there would be good people, and everything would be okay. But they started to get scared, a little aggressive and ran out of the helicopter toward the border. I don’t know what happened to them, but according to the media, it’s possible that they have already been eliminated.”

On guarantees given by Ukraine

“First of all, security ensured for me and my family, payments, new documents. This is the most important thing. My parents are with me.”

On future plans

“In the future, I want to connect my life with aviation. I have received an offer to reside here. I will definitely consider it, and it is possible that I will answer positively. Then we’ll see how it goes.”

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