Defected Russian pilot on how Russian commanders abuse their positions

September 5, 2023, 02:37

Maxim Kuzminov (Photo:Screenshot from the HUR video) 

Maxim Kuzminov, the Russian helicopter pilot who recently defected to Ukraine, stated that senior Russian military commanders “live for their own pleasure,” in an interview with Ukrainian journalist and blogger Volodymyr Zolkin, published on Sept. 4.

One particular story he shared involved two military helicopters being used to airlift the commander’s pet cat.

When asked if there have been any illogical or irrational uses of pilots and aviation, Kuzminov said, “Yes, there have been numerous cases.”

“Our commander needed to transport a cat, which had some impressive pedigree,” said Kuzminov.

“To do this, two Mi-8 and Mi-24 [helicopter] crews were assigned. So, two helicopters transported this wonderful animal, so to speak, from Rostov to Yeysk [air base] — the Mi-8 was flying the cat in, while the Mi-24 was circling to provide cover.”

He noted that there were six military personnel on board at the time, and the flight to the destination took about an hour.

“We burned a lot of fuel, resources; furthermore, the crews aren’t always allowed to rest,” the pilot said, adding that the Russian Air Force “lacks trained pilots.”

Describing the commanders’ attitudes towards their subordinates in the Russian military in general, Kuzminov asserted that Russian soldiers are “left to their own devices”, and the commanders “never have time to deal with it — they have their own problems.”

On Aug. 23, Kuzminov landed a Russian Mi-8 helicopter in Poltava Oblast, surrendering the aircraft to Ukraine. Official sources later confirmed this was the conclusion of a six-months-long operation by Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence.

In addition to the aircraft itself, the transfer included spare parts for Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets.

Kuzminov and his family are now in Ukraine, having been evacuated from Russia in advance. He has since publicly urged other Russian pilots to follow his example.

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