It has been revealed that the defecting Russian military helicopter pilot shot dead in Spain this week may have revealed his location to hitmen with a phone call inviting his ex-girlfriend to visit him in Alicante.
Captain Maksim Kuzminov was found riddled with bullets in an underground car park in Villajoyosa, near Alicante, earlier this month following what is feared to have been an attack orchestrated by the Kremlin.
The 28-year-old had become a target of Russian death squads by fleeing his homeland last August in a stolen Mi-8 helicopter and landing it at a Ukrainian military airfield.
Living under a new identity in Spain – and enriched by the Ukrainians after his defection – he had set out to build a new life free from the horrors of war.
But he is believed to have made a fatal mistake by contacting an old flame and inviting her to his new address.
‘We know that he had invited an ex-girlfriend to Spain and then they found him dead. That call could have been intercepted by the Russian secret services,” Spanish media reported.
Meanwhile, sources close to the investigation claimed that Russian munitions were used in the attack to signal to other defectors the reach and murderous intent of the Kremlin’s security apparatus.
Maksim Kuzminov, who flew his helicopter over the front line to defect to Ukraine, has been shot dead in Spain while living under a new identity.
Agents of the Spanish Civil Guard investigate the garage where the body of the Russian pilot Kuzminov is
A burned car allegedly used by the perpetrators of the murder of Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov to escape the scene of the incident is parked in front of the Spanish Civil Guard barracks, in El Campello, Spain.
Captain Kuzminov, 28 (pictured), fled Russia with the help of Ukrainian intelligence services.
Anonymous officers from Russia’s GRU Spetsnaz special forces appeared on Moscow state television last year making it clear that an “order” had been given to liquidate Kuzminov.
The respected Alicante newspaper Información reports today: “Although the exact caliber and brand have not been revealed, the fact that the ammunition is Russian-made confirms the suspicion that the dead man is not the 33-year-old Ukrainian named in the documentation”. carrying said, but Captain Kuzminov, 28 years old.
“Sources close to the investigation consider that the murderers used Russian ammunition, so there would be no doubt that the execution, with its exemplary overtones, came from Russia and was the direct and announced consequence of the notorious desertion.”
Kuzminov was shot six times on February 13 after being chased from the second floor of an underground car park beneath a large residential development in Villajoyosa, near Benidorm.
A car linked to the crime and believed to have been driven by a getaway driver working with the gunman was later found burnt out in nearby El Campello.
Spanish investigators are working on the theory that the killers were hired hitmen who have probably already left the country.
They are analyzing CCTV footage and are expected to officially confirm that Kuzminov was the victim when they have the results of the fingerprint and DNA tests and have submitted a full report to an investigating judge.
Although it was initially reported that Kuzminov was working in the housing estate where he was shot dead, it was later revealed that he had been staying in an apartment he was renovating.
He was operating under an alias that made him assume the profile of a 33-year-old Ukrainian man and had used his newfound wealth – rumored to be £400,000 – to buy property from an estate agency with Russian links.
This, along with the ill-advised call to his ex-girlfriend, is believed to have alerted Russian security services to his whereabouts.
Last year, anonymous officers from the Spetsnaz special forces of the Russian military intelligence service GRU appeared on Russian state television making it clear that an “order” had been given to liquidate Kuzminov.
State channel Rossiya 1’s Vesti Nedeli told viewers in a chilling broadcast: “The order (to kill Captain Kuzminov) has been received, its execution is a matter of time.”
A Spetsnaz officer said: “We will find the man and punish him for betraying his brothers to the fullest extent of the law of our country.”
A second officer said simply: “He won’t live…”
It comes as independent Telegram channel Volya, which monitors both sides in the war, established a link between the case of the slain pilot and the murky circumstances surrounding the death of billionaire Sergey Protosenya, 55.
The former oligarch, vice president of the Russian gas company Novatek, was found hanged in spring 2022 after allegedly murdering his wife Natalia, 53, and their teenage daughter, Maria, while they slept in a Catalan resort town.
But the gruesome crime scene seemed staged, and Protosenya is just one of dozens of Russian energy oligarchs who have met a difficult end since war broke out in Ukraine.
Pictured: Ukrainian intelligence officers inspect a Russian helicopter they say was delivered to Ukraine by Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov.
Agents of the Spanish Civil Guard stand in front of the garage where the body of Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov was found after being shot dead.
Spanish detectives have launched an investigation into the pilot’s death. In the photo: Spanish Civil Guard agents in the garage where Kuzminov’s body was found.
Russian gas magnate Sergei Protosenya, his wife Natalya, 53, and their teenage daughter Maria were found dead in their Spanish mansion, in Lloret de Mar, on April 19, 2022.
Former oligarch Protosenya, vice president of the Russian gas company Novatek, was found hanged in spring 2022.
Volya claims that both Russian secret services and long-established mafia clans are active in Spain, giving the Russian state a terrifying reach.
‘The Russians have been living in Alicante, Altea, Benidorm and small neighboring towns for two years (since the start of the war), providing security for cargo and ships, security of cash used for settlements and escort of ‘exports Imports’. “Specialists coming from the Russian Federation, some of whom wear FSB suspenders and others (GRU military intelligence),” the Volya report says.
‘Among these people there are professional assassins or saboteurs. It was they who killed the former top manager of Novatek Sergei Protosenya in the spring of 2022 in Lloret de Mar.
‘Protosenya’s murder was associated with the purge of personnel who knew a lot about the withdrawal of money to the EU and its legalization there.
“They tried to cover up that death as an alleged domestic murder… But they did not disguise themselves as Kuzminov,” Volya reported.
“They promised to punish him, they punished him.”
It warned: “While European politicians express concern over Navalny’s murder, Russian assassins and intelligence agencies are active and, unfortunately, operating successfully throughout Europe and other parts of the world.”