Maksym Kuzminov, a Russian military pilot who defected to Ukraine was offered a cash prize worth IDR 7.6 billion by Kyiv. Photo/Ukrinform
KYIV – Maksym Kuzminov, a Russian military pilot who defected to Ukraine during the war, will receive a cash reward of USD 500,000 (more than Rp. 7.6 billion) from his country’s arch enemy.
Kuzminov, 28, defected to Ukraine last month, taking with him an Mi-8 helicopter and stolen fighter jet spare parts.
His arrival in Ukraine marked the end of a secret 6-month defection plan he worked on with Ukrainian intelligence, which involved moving his family out of Russia.
Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Andrii Yusova said Kyiv now awarded him $500,000.
Ukraine’s parliament initiated the “I Want to Live” initiative in April 2022 encouraging Russian soldiers to surrender and offering them up to $1 million for stolen equipment.
According to The Kyiv Independent, Wednesday (6/9/2023), Kuzminov was the first soldier to receive such a gift.
“What is happening now is simply genocide against the Ukrainian people,” Kuzminov said in a video released by Ukrainian Defense Intelligence.
“The motivation for my actions was not to contribute to this crime. Ukraine will definitely win this war simply because its people are so united.”
“The whole world is helping them,” he added, as reported by CNN. “Because first and foremost, human life must be valued.”
Kuzminov is now encouraging other Russian soldiers to follow in his footsteps and abandon the Russian war.