Ukrainian intelligence officials said on Wednesday that a recently disappeared Russian pilot with his Mi-8 helicopter and his entire crew is actually in Ukraine after defecting as part of a six-month special operation.
Andrei Yusov, representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, confirmed in televised statements that the Russian military helicopter landed at a Ukrainian air base. Citing sources in the Ukrainian intelligence Ukraineska Pravda It said the pilot was “lured” to Ukraine at the height of a months-long special operation.
His family was evacuated to Ukraine early on, according to the report, and Ukraine, along with the Russian helicopter, got the cargo he was transporting: spare parts for the Russian military’s fighter jets.
Two other crew members who were on board with the pilot reportedly had no idea the helicopter had landed in Ukraine, and there are conflicting reports about their fate. Ukraineska Pravda The two were reported to have been “liquidated” during the special operation, while other reports indicated that they had surrendered. “Work is underway with the crew,” Yusuf said cryptically.
Moscow has not yet commented on these allegations, but Kremlin-linked Telegram channels confirmed the recent disappearance of a Russian helicopter. Flightbomber Telegram Channel on Wednesday He said The Mi-8 disappeared “a few weeks ago” but insisted the crew simply “lost its bearings” and accidentally landed in Ukraine.
The channel claimed: “After they understood where they landed, they tried to take off, but were shot dead in the helicopter on the ground,” saying that the pilot may still be alive but was “subjected to brutality” by the Ukrainian military.
“And I ask all ordinary people, until proven otherwise, not to publish any other versions, because there can be no other versions.”
Pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov, a former adviser to Putin, also implored people not to believe the “false” claim that the pilot had “switched to the Ukrainian side” in a statement on the Telegram app, claiming that the pilot was being “tortured”. to say he did.
Other pro-Kremlin channels on Telegram have called for a prisoner exchange to return the pilot and any surviving crew members.
One of the famous channels said: “Guys, we believe you are alive, and we are waiting for you at home.”
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