Maksym Kuzminov, Russian defector, shot lifeless in Spain, Ukraine says | EUROtoday

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A person discovered riddled with bullets and run over by a automotive final week in Spain is Russian defector Maksym Kuzminov, who flew a army helicopter to Ukraine in a dramatic operation, in response to Ukrainian officers.

The physique was discovered on the entrance to a residential advanced in Villajoyosa, in Alicante, and witnesses informed native media that gunmen shot him a number of occasions, then ran him over and escaped in a automotive. Spanish police had initially been investigating the crime as a case of score-settling however now imagine there’s a wider worldwide dimension — probably the newest instance of Russian particular companies finishing up an assassination on European soil.

The spokesman for Ukraine’s intelligence service, Andriy Yusov, confirmed to The Washington Post on Tuesday that the physique was that of Kuzminov.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, warned that the assassination may embolden Russians to take extra such actions.

“If the Russians feel so empowered within the European Union that they start killing people, the question becomes quite complex. This is not the first instance where Russians behave this way,” he informed Ukrainska Pravda late Monday.

Spain’s Interior Ministry wouldn’t verify the id of the physique, which it described as bullet riddled, however acknowledged in a press release that additional investigation into the case was wanted. Investigators had initially believed the one who died was a Ukrainian by a distinct identify.

“In the course of the investigation that is being carried out, it has come to our attention that the identity of this person could be false and could be that of another individual. The Guardia Civil is proceeding to verify this, but we are unable to provide any further information at this time,” it stated.

Spanish media cited sources contained in the Guardia Civil confirming that the physique belonged to Kuzminov.

On the Russian facet, some have already been celebrating the demise. Pro-Kremlin blogger Sergei Markov posted on Telegram that Kuzminov was “eliminated.”

“We will not rejoice in anyone’s death. But this news can save many lives, because it reminds everyone: save your lives and never cooperate with the Ukrainian neo-fascist regime in anything,” he stated.

Sergei Naryshkin, the top of Russia’s overseas intelligence service, stated Tuesday that Kuzminov was lifeless the second he began planning his defection. “In Russia, it is common to speak well of the dead or nothing at all. This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse already at the moment when he was planning his dirty and terrible crime.”

A month after the announcement about his defection, Russian tv aired a 10-minute documentary during which consultants opined that Kuzminov will need to have killed his fellow servicemen within the helicopter in the course of the operation, and vowed revenge.

According to this system, Russia’s army intelligence, often called GRU, had already acquired an order to eradicate him. “He will not live to see the trial,” stated a fighter with this face hidden on the present.

Ukraine introduced with nice fanfare in August an intelligence operation that persuaded Kuzminov to fly his Mi-8 helicopter loaded with jet components into Ukraine to defect. The two crew members with him have been unaware of the plot and have been shot by Ukrainian forces once they refused to give up, in response to officers.

The Ukrainian authorities later introduced that the pilot had acquired a $500,000 reward in native forex and inspired different Russian service members to observe swimsuit.

Paul Schemm in London contributed to this report.