A Russian soldier gathered intel for Ukraine and then convinced 11 others to defect alongside him, Ukraine says
- A Russian soldier started working for Ukraine's military intelligence in July, a Ukrainian official said.
- He then convinced 11 other Russians to defect with him, the official added.
A Russian soldier started working for Ukraine's military intelligence service earlier this year and then convinced 11 other soldiers to defect with him, a Ukrainian official said.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, said the soldier, identified as Daniil Alfyorov, began working with Ukraine in July, The Kyiv Independent reported.
The outlet reported that Alfyorov initially got in touch with Ukraine through its "I want to live" hotline, which Ukraine set up in September 2022 to allow Russian soldiers to give themselves up.
It's not clear from the report what intelligence Alfyorov provided, but Yusov highlighted that he had convinced 11 other Russian soldiers to defect with him.
Ukraine's special forces then evacuated Alfyorov to Ukrainian-held territory when Russia got suspicious and there was a risk to his life, Yusov said, though he did not say when the operation took place.
In August, in another high-profile case of defection, a captain in Russia's 319th separate helicopter regiment surrendered to Ukraine, taking a Mi-8 helicopter with him.
The pilot's arrival in Ukraine was said to have marked the end of a six-month defection plot he had worked out with Ukraine that included moving his family out of Russia, as Insider previously reported.
At the time, Yusov said the pilot would be rewarded with $500,000 for bringing over the helicopter and stolen fighter-jet parts.
This followed Ukraine's parliament passing a law in April 2022 offering up to $1 million to Russian military personnel who manage to transfer equipment to Ukraine. The size of the reward depends on the type of equipment they hand over.
Yusov said that after that operation was revealed there was a 70% uptick in calls to the surrender hotline.
The Kyiv Independent wasn't able to confirm details of Alfyorov's status in Ukraine or if he's expected to receive a reward.
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