Support Us

Russian pilot reveals details of flying Mi-8 to Ukraine and persuading crew to surrender

Tuesday, 5 September 2023, 11:35
Russian pilot reveals details of flying Mi-8 to Ukraine and persuading crew to surrender

Maxim Kuzminov, the pilot of the Russian Mi-8 helicopter that ended up in Ukraine, has revealed that during the final stage of the operation, he persuaded the crew to surrender to the Ukrainian side, but they got scared, turned aggressive and ran towards the border after landing.

Source: Russian pilot during a press conference in Kyiv

Quote from Kuzminov: "I had two crew members with me. We did not have any weapons with us. Our pilots fly unarmed.


No one could resist me since the navigator had no helicopter piloting skills. I reassured the guys, telling them everything was fine, good people lived here, and nothing would go wrong. But they got afraid, began behaving aggressively and eventually rushed out of the helicopter towards the border.

I don't know their fate, but the media reports suggest they may have been killed."

Details: The pilot said he "didn't just hijack the helicopter; he officially piloted it from point A to point B", as the route and landing site had been agreed in advance.

Kuzminov said they took off at 16:30 from the Kursk airfield to Kharkiv Oblast, about 20 km from the border. Then, near Russia's village of Shebekino, he flew at an extremely low altitude - 5-10 metres - and in radio silence.

As he crossed the border, he was fired upon.

"I can't say for sure who started it, but I assume it was the Russian side. I was shot in the leg with small arms. I then flew about 20 kilometres away and landed at the designated location," the pilot said.

He claims that he has only performed transport operations to move military personnel or cargo, not bombing. He was in Mariupol and Berdiansk. He supposedly fought in the war "with tears in his eyes".

Kuzminov is now considering joining Ukrainian aviation.

He added that the initial information on the opportunity to surrender with a helicopter came from police officers, and then the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) joined the operation.

The pilot, he said, was promised payments under a special law, new documents and security for himself and his relatives.

The helicopter is now part of the DIU's aircraft unit.


  • On 23 August, reports emerged that a Russian Armed Forces Mi-8 helicopter had recently landed in Ukraine as a result of a long-running special operation by the DIU.
  • The pilot and his family are in Ukraine, and the family was taken out of Russia in advance. The Mi-8 remained in Ukraine, along with the parts for the fighter jets it was supposed to deliver to the Russians.

Ukrainska Pravda is the place where you will find the most up-to-date information about everything related to the war in Ukraine. Follow us on Twitter, support us, or become our patron!