Vladimir Putin’s thugs willing to ‘operate beyond Russia’ as runaway soldier shot dead | World | News

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Vladimir Putin’s thugs willing to ‘operate beyond Russia’ as runaway soldier shot dead | World | News

Vladimir Putin ordered the brutal execution of a runaway Russian soldier in Spain in order to send a message to the West, namely that his thugs were ready and willing to operate outside Russian borders, UK-based experts have said.

Police today said they believe the body of a man gunned down in cold blood and then run over in the eastern Spain is that of Maksim Kuzminov, who stole a Russian helicopter and flew across the Ukrainian front line last year.

Andrii Yusov, a representative of Ukrainian military intelligence, subsequently confirmed to local media that the former pilot had died in Spain, but did not provide details.

The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, told Russian journalists that Maxim Kuzminov was a “traitor and criminal” who became a “moral corpse” as soon as he started planning “his dirty and terrible crime,” according to Russian state news agency Tass.

Asked about the case, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov denied he had any details, insisting Moscow had received no information via diplomatic channels.

But with Putin widely believed to have ordered the murder in custody of dissident Alexei Navalny last week, Nikolai Petrov, a consulting fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, claimed it was highly likely the order to kill Kuzminov had likewise come from the top.

He told Express.co.uk: “There are no other reasonable explanations.

“It’s bad news for Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence and a clear signal to any ‘potential traitors’ on the Russian side.”

Mr Petrov agreed Mr Kuzminov’s assassination sent a clear signal to other nations about Putin’s ability to liquidate targets outside his own country.

However, referring to the fact that 28-year-old defected from the Russian armed forces, he added: “I would not overestimate it – this particular case was of special importance to demonstrate the inevitability of retribution.”

Journalist Owen Matthews, whose book, Overreach: The Inside Story of Vladimir Putin’s War on Ukraine, was published last year, told Express.co.uk the subtext of Kuzminov’s murder was essentially “death to all traitors”.

It also underlined Putin’s confidence, Mr Matthews stressed, given Mr Kuzminov had been shot and then reportedly run over by a car as his attackers drove from the scene.

He added: “It sends a signal that ‘we can do what we like, whenever we like, and we will track and trace traitors’.”

Tass also claimed Alexei Danilov, the Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said Ukraine had suggested Mr Kuzminov remain in Ukraine where he would be protected.

Spain’s Civil Guard said they found false documents on a body discovered February 13 in the entrance to a residential complex in La Cala, close to Alicante.

They said the documents identified the man as a 33-year-old Ukrainian, but police now believe it could be Mr Kuzminov.

He fled the war by flying into Ukraine in a Mi-8 army helicopter with the help of Ukrainian intelligence.

Police also said they believe he was killed by a “professional group” without ascribing specific blame.

Spanish state news agency Efe said the body had been hit by half a dozen bullets and was run over by the car used by the attackers.

Reports said a burning car – possibly the one used in the attack – was found near the area later.

However, the Civil Guard could not immediately confirm that information.

Cet article est apparu en premier sur https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1868782/kremlin-russian-soldier-murdered-spain-vladimir-putin


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