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A bullet-riddled body found in Spain likely that of Russian defector

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Police said Tuesday they suspect the bullet-riddled body of a man found in Spain is that of a Russian defector who escaped across the frontline and into Ukraine last year with an army helicopter. The body was found Feb 13 in La Cala, near the eastern port city of Alicante, according to Civil Guard police. The man had been shot half a dozen times and was run over by the car, according to the Spanish state news agency Efe.
Spain’s Civil Guard said they found documents on the body that identified the man as a 33-year-old Ukrainian.But police now believe it could be Maksim Kuzminov, who defected last year by flying into Ukraine in a Mi-8 army helicopter with the help of Ukrainian intelligence. Andrii Yusov, a representative of Ukrainian military intelligence, confirmed to local media that the former Russian pilot had died in Spain, but didn’t provide details. It is not clear how or why Kuzminov would have travelled to Spain.
The head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, Sergei Naryshkin, told Russian journalists that Maksim Kuzminov was a “traitor and criminal” who became a “moral corpse” as soon as he started planning “his dirty and terrible crime”, according to Russian state news agency Tass. Tass also reported that Alexei Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence Council, said Ukraine had suggested Kuzminov remain in Ukraine where he would be protected. Asked about the case, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said he had no information on it.
Spain’s Civil Guard said they found false documents on a body discovered Feb 13. Spanish state news agency Efe said the body had been hit by half a dozen bullets and was run over by the car used by the attackers. Reports said a burning car – possibly the one used in the attack – was found near the area later but the Civil Guard could not confirm that information.
Kuzminov’s defection was presented last year as a major coup for Kyiv. At a news conference in Kyiv he said he could not understand why his “beloved motherland” would enter into a war with Ukraine. Other members of the air crew died during his defection. Moscow said Kuzminov killed them; he said they panicked and fled, and may’ve been killed subsequently.

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