(GoRealNewsNow.com) – Amid the bloody Russia-Ukraine war, a Russian pilot has defected to the Ukrainian side, deliberately surrendering his Mi-8 helicopter and bringing spare parts for Soviet-era fighter jets used by the Ukrainian military.
The Russian military helicopter pilot was persuaded to defect to Ukraine and bring the valuable equipment in a special operation of the Ukrainian military intelligence service GUR, according to defense sources in Kyiv.
The six-month operation involved the Ukrainian intelligence getting the pilot’s family out of Russia in advance to avoid retribution against them by Vladimir Putin’s regime, reports the Ukrainska Pravda news site, as cited by Newsmax.
GUR (“Main Directorate of Intelligence”) instructed the Russian man to change the path of his Mi-8 helicopter and land deep inside Ukraine, at the Poltava Air Base, about 200 miles away from the current frontlines.
According to the reports, the two other crew members of the Russian helicopter were unaware of the changed course and were “neutralized” by the defecting pilot. The defector was reunited with his family in Ukraine.
As part of the intelligence operation, he packed his helicopter with spare parts for Su-27, a Soviet-era Russian-made fighter jet operated by the Ukrainian Air Force.
A multi-purpose Mi-8 helicopter, another Soviet model still made by Russia today, has a market price of about $8.5 million. According to reports, Ukraine, which already had a fleet of just choppers left over from the Communist period, has received about 45 Mi-8s from NATO alliance nations since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Russian reports about the military helicopter claimed the pilot deviated from the flight path by mistake.
“There will be official information. We need to wait a little bit — we are working on it, including with the crew,” commented Ukrainian intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov, confirming the organized defection reports.
Photos released by the Ukrainian authorities showed service members posing with the Mi-8 helicopter, which was initially based in the Russian Far East, near the borders with China and North Korea.
Ukraine has announced it would award Russian defectors who surrender their military equipment a $10,000 reward, a new identity, and the opportunity to settle there or in a European Union country with their families.
The first known case of a defector awarded was that of a young Russian man who surrendered with his tank in the spring of 2022.
A Russian pilot flying a Mil Mi-8 helicopter has defected to Kyiv, high-ranking sources in the Ukrainian military told Ukrainska Pravda this week. https://t.co/mxAKzXnT2d
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) August 24, 2023