Kyiv lured Russian pilots into landing Mi-8 helicopters over Ukraine in an operation similar to that carried out by the Mossad in the 1960s. Photo/REUTERS
KYIV – Kyiv military intelligence managed to lure a Russian pilot into landing a Mi-8 attack transport helicopter to land on Ukrainian territory and the helicopter was seized. It’s a bit like what the Mossad did to Iraqi pilots in the 1960s.
The head of the Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of Ukraine Major General Kyrylo Budanov said a Russian Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter had landed at the Poltava military airbase in Kharkiv a few days ago.
Budanov told US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the pilot tried to escape as soon as he realized where he had landed.
According to Military Today, the Mi-8 AMTSh is an armored attack version of the Mi-8AMT helicopter, and is primarily used to carry troops and cargo. The helicopter carries a number of ground attack weapons, and can operate at night and in all weather conditions.
Budanov said the helicopter was now in Kyiv and called the operation the first successful operation in Ukrainian history.
There are conflicting reports regarding the seizure of the helicopter. Artem Shevchenko, a Ukrainian television journalist, said on Facebook that the intelligence operation was very similar to Operation Diamond carried out by Israel’s intelligence services; Mossad, in the 1960’s. It involved an Iraqi defector flying a MiG-21 plane and landing at an airbase in Israel.
Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence, spoke to Reuters on Saturday (26/8/2023) about the operation, saying: “This is a GUR operation. The planes are moving as planned.”
Ukrainian media; Ukrainska Pravda, citing unnamed intelligence sources as saying the operation to lure the pilots to land in Ukraine took more than six months.
“As a result of the special operation two crew members were killed, and the pilot and his family are in Ukraine. It is stated that the pilot’s family was taken out of the Russian Federation first,” the Ukrainian media wrote in its report.