Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead - Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence – Newstrends
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Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead – Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence

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Maxim Kuzminov
Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead – Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence
CNN —  Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who dramatically defected to Ukraine by flying his helicopter across the border, is dead, according to Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR).

The news comes after the Spanish Civil Guard in Alicante province told CNN that a man had been shot to death on February 13 inside the parking garage of an apartment building in Villajoyosa, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean Sea.

Initially, the Civil Guard said the victim was a 33-year-old Ukrainian but later said the identity of the body was still to be determined and part of an investigation, which had been sealed by a judge.

The remains of the man shot inside the garage are thought to still be in Alicante province under the supervision of forensic examiners.

The shooting took place in a neighborhood where some Russian and Ukrainian expatriates have settled since the war began, according to the Villajoyosa city hall press office.

Asked Tuesday whether Russia had any knowledge of the death, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow had no information on the matter.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Director Sergey Naryshkin would also not comment directly on Kuzminov’s death, but told reporters the defector had become “a moral corpse the moment he began planning his dirty and terrible crime,” Russia’s RIA Novosti reported.

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Shortly after Kuzminov’s defection, Russian TV aired a segment about him on the “Vesti Nedeli” program, which carried a clear threat to the defector’s life. In the program, a reporter said that Russia’s own military intelligence agency had already received their order with regard to Kuzminov, adding that, “its fulfillment is only a matter of time.”

Later in the segment, a man in a military uniform, whose face is shown covered, says: “We can’t let such a thing go, we will punish him for such actions.”

The Freedom for Russia Legion – a group associated with Ukraine’s GUR made up of Russian nationals fighting for Ukraine – expressed their condolences to family and friends of Kuzminov, saying he was a “real warrior and honest man.”

“Ukraine fulfilled all its obligations to Maxim, he received the promised monetary reward for the delivered equipment and had the opportunity to choose to stay in Ukraine and live in peace, continue serving in one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, or go to the EU,” the Legion said in a statement.

‘Let’s give it a try’

Kuzminov defected in August after Kyiv got his family out of Russia undetected, the head of the GUR, Kyrolo Budanov, told Radio Liberty last year. Budanov said it was the first successful operation of its kind.

When Kuzminov flew into Ukraine, the two other Russian service members on board the Mi-8 helicopter with him did not know what was happening. The pair were killed while trying to escape after they realized they had landed in Ukraine.

“We would prefer (to take) them alive, but it is what it is,” Budanov said at the time.

In an interview published by the GUR in September, Kuzminov recounted the defection. He told reporters he fled Russia because he was opposed to the war.

“I contacted representatives of Ukrainian intelligence, explained my situation, to which they offered this option: ‘Come on, we guarantee your safety, guarantee new documents, guarantee monetary compensation, a reward,’” the pilot said.

His defection seemingly came last minute during a flight near the border.

After relaying his location, he said “let’s give it a try, I’m not that far away.”

“Having made a final decision, I flew at an extremely low altitude in radio silence mode. No one understood what was going on with me at all,” Kuzminov said.

Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine found dead – Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence

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Priest, others attacked during church service in Sydney’s second mass stabbing

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Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel

Priest, others attacked during church service in Sydney’s second mass stabbing

A bishop and several worshippers have been stabbed in an attack that was captured on video during a live-streamed service from a church in Sydney, only two days after a mass stabbing in a shopping centre.

Police said a man had been arrested following reports of the attack at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church just after 7pm local time in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley, New South Wales.

 Man repeatedly stabs Sydney Bishop during service in front of congregation live stream viewers

Video footage shared on social media shows Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel speaking to the congregation before a man dressed in black walks up to where he is standing and stabs him repeatedly. The sounds of screaming are heard before congregants run to the front to try to help the bishop.

Several worshippers were also injured in the attack. Police said they had suffered non-life threatening injuries.

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A spokesman for New South Wales Ambulance told Australian media that a man in his 50s was taken to hospital with multiple stab wounds, while three other people were also injured and were being treated at the scene.

New South Wales Police said: “A police operation is under way in Wakeley, following reports of a stabbing. Officers attached to Fairfield City Police Area Command attended a location on Welcome Street, Wakeley following reports a number of people were stabbed.

“Officers arrested a male and he is assisting police with inquiries. The injured people suffered non-life threatening injuries and are being treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics. More information will be provided once it becomes available.”

The attack come after six people were killed and 12 injured in a mass stabbing at Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

Police said that the attacker appears to have deliberately targeted women.

Priest, others attacked during church service in Sydney’s second mass stabbing

inews.co.uk

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Iran summons French, British, German envoys over reactions to Israel attack

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File photo of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Iran summons French, British, German envoys over reactions to Israel attack

After numerous countries condemned Iran’s attack on Israel, Tehran’s foreign ministry summoned the French, British, and German ambassadors “following the irresponsible positions of certain officials of these countries regarding Iran’s response”, a statement said.

Late Saturday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that they had launched “dozens of drones and missiles” towards military sites on Israeli territory.

“Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus” earlier this month, the Iranian mission to the UN said, dubbing it “legitimate defence”.

Israel’s army said it had shot 99 percent of the drones and missiles with the help of the United States and other allies, declaring Iran’s attack “foiled”.

The Iranian army chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri said the attack has “achieved all its objectives” and there was “no intention to continue this operation”.

Bagheri said Iran’s retaliation targeted an “intelligence centre” and the air base from which Tehran says the Israeli F-35 jets took off to strike the Damascus consulate on April 1.

“Both these centres were significantly destroyed,” he said, though Israel maintains that the attack only resulted in minor damage.

Attack ‘telegraphed’

Experts have suggested that Saturday’s slow-moving drone attack was calibrated to represent a show of power but also allow some wiggle room.

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“It appears that Iran telegraphed its attack on Israel to demonstrate it can strike using different capabilities, to complicate the ability to neutralise the assault but also to provide an off-ramp to pause escalation,” said Nishank Motwani, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Washington.

“Tehran can escalate if it chooses to across a range of vectors,” said Motwani.

Over the last two weeks, the Iranian authorities had repeatedly vowed to “punish” Israel after the death of seven Guards including two generals of the Quds Force in the attack that levelled the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Iran has blamed Israel for the attack.

In the days after the strike, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel will be “slapped for that action”.

Since Iran’s 1979 revolution, Israel has been the sworn enemy of the Islamic republic.

Iran has often called for the destruction of Israel, with support of the Palestinian cause one of the pillars of the Islamic revolution.

However, until Saturday Tehran had also refrained from a direct attack on Israel.

Instead, it has backed members of the so-called “Axis of Resistance” against Israel, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Huthi rebels, since the outbreak of war in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.

Hours before the strikes on Saturday, Iran seized an Israeli-linked container ship in the Gulf which Washington called “an act of piracy”.

 ‘Next slap will be fiercer’

During the night, Tehran warned the United States, urging it to “stay away” from its conflict with Israel.

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“If necessary”, Tehran “will not hesitate to take defensive measures to protect its interests against any aggressive military action,” Iran’s foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian later said Tehran had notified neighbouring countries ahead of the military operation, stressing its objective was “to punish the Israeli regime”.

“We are not seeking to target the American people or American bases in the region,” he said, but warned that Iran could target US military positions involved in “defending and supporting” Israel.

“The next slap will be fiercer,” warned a mural unveiled overnight in Tehran’s Palestine Square, where several thousands gathered, shouting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”.

Before Tehran launched its attack, Israel warned Iran that it would suffer “the consequences for choosing to escalate the situation any further”.

Israel has not revealed what a potential response would look like.

An Israeli attack on Iran’s territory, possibly targeting military or nuclear sites, could not be ruled out, according to experts.

As a precaution, Iran’s Imam Khomeini international airport and the domestic Mehrabad airport will remain closed until Monday at 06:00 am (0230 GMT), according to ISNA news agency.

Several international airlines have suspended flights over Iranian airspace.

Countries including Russia and France have asked their citizens to avoid travelling to Iran and Israel.

Iran summons French, British, German envoys over reactions to Israel attack

AFP

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UK’s Sunak pleads for ‘calm heads to prevail’ after Iran attack on Israel

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UK Prime Minister Sunak

UK’s Sunak pleads for ‘calm heads to prevail’ after Iran attack on Israel

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appealed for “calm heads to prevail” on Sunday, confirming that British fighter jets downed Iranian drones during Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

Israel and its allies intercepted nearly all of Iran’s missiles and drones fired during its first attack on Israeli land.

Sunak joined world leaders in urging patience, while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned against “reckless” Israeli reprisals for the strikes, which marked a significant increase in Middle East tensions.

“If this attack had been successful, the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate,” Sunak told reporters in Downing Street.

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“We stand by the security of Israel and the wider region, which is of course important for our security here at home, and what we now need is for calm heads to prevail.

“We’ll be working with our allies to de-escalate the situation, and I look forward to speaking to G7 leaders later this afternoon,” Sunak added.

He added that the UK’s Royal Air Force planes “did shoot down several Iranian attack drones,” confirming reports that Britain had helped Israel and other allies repel the strikes.

In response to Iran’s threats to Israel, the UK’s defense ministry announced late Saturday that it has sent more fighter jets and air-refueling tankers to the region.

The jets strengthened an existing British campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to the Ministry of Defence.

UK’s Sunak pleads for ‘calm heads to prevail’ after Iran attack on Israel

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