scorecardA Russian commander used military helicopters to transport his pet cat, says pilot who defected to Ukraine
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A Russian commander used military helicopters to transport his pet cat, says pilot who defected to Ukraine

Rebecca Rommen   

A Russian commander used military helicopters to transport his pet cat, says pilot who defected to Ukraine
DefenseDefense1 min read
  • A Russian commander used two military helicopters to transport his pet cat, according to a defector.
  • One helicopter was used to fly the cat, and another was used to provide cover, he said.

One of Putin's commanders used two military helicopters to airlift his pet cat, according to Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine.

The operation burned through "a lot of fuel" and required a staff of six servicemen because the cat had "some impressive pedigree", he said, according to a translation by The New Voice of Ukraine.

The pet was airlifted by a multimillion-pound chopper while another helicopter provided cover. The elaborate journey took around an hour.

Kuzminov called the incident an example of senior Russian commanders living "for their own pleasure."

The revelation was made in an interview between Kuzminov and Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Zolkin.

Kuzminov, who surrendered to Ukraine with stolen fighter jet spare parts, is set to receive a $500,000 reward from the war-torn country.

Ukrainian officials said a six-month plot led to Kuzminov's Russian Mi-8 AMTSh landing at a military air base in Kharkiv, in northeast Ukraine, last month.

Ukraine's Defense Intelligence identified the pilot as Kuzminov, who is a 28-year-old former captain in Russia's 319th separate helicopter regiment.

The pilot is now calling on other Russian servicemen to follow his example, Ukraine's intelligence department said.

The Ukrainian Parliament started the "I want to live" initiative in April 2022, encouraging Russian soldiers to surrender. The campaign offered defectors up to $1 million for stolen equipment, EuroMaidan Press reported.

Kuzminov is the first known recipient of such an award.




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