In an interview with RadioSvoboda, HUR Spokesman Andriy Yusov claimed that there had been a surge in the number of Russian military personnel willing to surrender to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) following the defection of the Russian pilot, Maxim Kuzminov.

 

Kuzminov flew his Mi-8 AMTSh (NATO: Hip) armored combat helicopter to the Ukrainian airfield at Poltava military airbase on Wednesday, Aug. 23, after a special operation engineered by the HUR called “Sinitsa.”

 

On Sept. 3, HUR released a documentary film that outlined how the operation had been set up and worked along with “teasers” about the intelligence work of the directorate.

 

During the interview, Yusov said the number of Russian soldiers who want to surrender to Ukraine following Kuzminov’s defection, has increased by 70 percent.

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“There is a big leap of contacts through ‘I want to live’ and other communication channels. After the successful operation ‘Sinitsa’ with the Mi-8 and the pilot, let’s say, the number of servicemen of the Russian army who are considering a similar scenario for themselves has increased,” Yusov said.

 

Asked to comment on rumors that had begun to circulate through Ukrainian and Russian Telegram channels that if a Russian pilot flew a MiG-31 aircraft armed with a Kinzhal missile to Ukraine, he would get $2 million and be granted citizenship of a NATO country of his choice for him and his family.

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The Chinese defense ministry said in a statement on Sunday that this operation is "not targeted at any third party and has nothing to do with the current international and regional situation."

 

Yuzov replied: “This information is more in the nature of a legend and popular speculation,” before adding “but, of course, there would be a reward for the MiG.”

 

What is the project “I Want to Live”?

 

“I Want to Live” is a state project created and run by Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, with the support of the Ministry of Defense and HUR, directed at military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

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The project guarantees that, in the event of a voluntary surrender, the military personnel who come across will be fairly treated in accordance with the norms of the Geneva Conventions.

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