Russian Pilot Deflects to Ukraine Midflight

Fasttailwind /
Fasttailwind /

Some incredibly unique stories have emerged from Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. Despite all the touching stories, one of the most unique stories came back at some unspecified point in August when a Russian Mi8 helicopter landed in Ukraine. Identified as Maxim Kuzminov, he was able to secure a situation like this without tipping off his comrades to his intentions.

The head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, Kyrolo Budanov told the story in August about how this all worked out to Radio Liberty.

“We were able to create the conditions to get his whole family out undetected, and eventually create the conditions so that he could take over this aircraft with a crew that did not know what was happening. Two more people were with him – a full crew of three persons in total. When they realized where they had landed, they tried to escape. Unfortunately, they were eliminated. We would prefer (to take) them alive, but it is what it is.”

On September 4th, Kuzminov told his side of the story, and it turned out much of this happening occurred via fate. He simply happened to be near the border and low enough at the time, once he realized that he sent the message and came in. Experts have claimed that the interview seems legitimate and not done under any duress. One Russian Telegram channel even reported it as having happened that a helicopter had mistakenly flown into the central Poltava and landed with no realization of where he was.

For the Ukrainians, this kind of achievement is just another key to the castle. While the Trojan horse is always an option with an asset like this, the biggest gift is the ability to understand what its capabilities are as a helicopter. By helping to force Russian pilots into making bad decisions with this new intel, this has great capabilities to reset much of the conflict. Especially with the new communication gear the helicopter came with.

While this won’t be the moment written in history as the point that turned the conflict, it damn sure is a notable achievement not heard of in decades.