Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead

In a shocking development reminiscent of Cold War-era espionage tales, Maksim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot known for his daring defection to Ukraine in 2023, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Villajoyosa, Spain. On Tuesday, February 13, the quaint Mediterranean town, known for its peaceful holiday environment, became the center of a grim narrative when Kuzminov’s body, bearing multiple gunshot wounds, was discovered in an underground parking lot. The incident has reignited concerns in Europe about the long reach of Russian intelligence agencies, particularly the FSB, formerly known as the KGB.

Background of Russian Pilot Defection

Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead

Kuzminov’s defection was the climax of a six-month-long intelligence operation named Operation Synytsia, led by the Ukrainian GUR, with which he had collaborated. Tasked with the transportation of fighter jet components between Russian airbases, Kuzminov took a decisive turn by landing his Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter, loaded with spare parts for Su-27, Su-30SM, and Su-35 fighters, in Ukraine

The Fate of the Crew

The narrative takes a darker turn with the revelation that the two other crew members aboard the helicopter were unaware of Kuzminov’s intentions. Their attempt to flee the unexpected landing led to their execution by Ukrainian special forces.

Russian Response and Speculation

Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead
PHOTO: LICENSED VIA ENVATO

Since his defection, Kuzminov had been a wanted man in Russia, fueling speculation that his assassination was orchestrated by the FSB as retribution for his betrayal. While official confirmation is pending, Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian HUR, confirmed the pilot’s death to the Kyiv Post, pointing to the likely involvement of Russian secret services.

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