NewsRussian Pilot's Murder in Spain Tied to Kremlin-Ordered Hit

Russian Pilot's Murder in Spain Tied to Kremlin-Ordered Hit

Russian Pilot's Murder in Spain Tied to Kremlin-Ordered Hit
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5:32 AM EST, February 29, 2024

The investigation revealed that Chechens affiliated with Russian special services managed to locate the former Russian Air Forces captain by tracking his mother, Inna Kuzminova. She kept in touch with her 28-year-old son, hiding in La Vila Joiosa in Spain's Alicante province on the east coast.

"El Mundo" reported that Inna Kuzminova played a crucial role in planning her son’s escape on August 9. That day, Kuzminow and two of his helicopter crew members left the military airport in Kursk, pretending to carry out an officially scheduled mission. After landing in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, he was safeguarded by the local army, which also offered him the opportunity to stay in the country. Inna Kuzminova had earlier arrived in Ukraine.

The Madrid newspaper also indicated that Russian services might have learned of Kuzminow's location through information shared by his former partner, whom he continued communicating with after his escape.

Actions that could have drawn attention

Contrary to some Russian media reports claiming that Kuzminow started abusing alcohol and drugs after arriving in Spain in October of the previous year, "El Mundo" states these claims are unfounded. Nevertheless, the newspaper highlighted that the Russian might have attracted attention through significant expenditures.

"El Mundo" also found that the Spanish authorities knew about the pilot's presence in the country under a pseudonym since the beginning of his stay. This revelation implies that Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles was not forthcoming when she stated that the Spanish services had no information about Kuzminow.

The investigation also confirmed that the Russian refugee was living under the identity of a 33-year-old Ukrainian citizen, Ihor Shevchenko. He resided in an area populated by many Russians, which might have made it easier for the hitmen to find and assassinate him.

Investigative reports indicate that members of the Chechen criminal group tasked with Kuzminow's assassination fired six shots at him near his garage. Spanish authorities confirmed that the assailants used Makarov 9x18 mm ammunition, which was commonly used in the USSR.

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