One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s commanders used two military helicopters to transport his pet cat during the war in Ukraine, a defected Russian pilot has claimed. In an interview with The New Voice of Ukraine, former Russian airman Maksim Kuzminov revealed that the feline was airlifted in the military-grade helicopter for around one hour, while another chopper flew alongside it to provide cover during the journey.
A “lot of fuel” was used up for the operation and the cat also had six staff accompanying it because it has “some impressive pedigree,” Mr Kuzminov told the Ukrainian outlet. He also called the incident an example of senior Russian commanders living “for their own pleasure”.
“Our commander needed to transport a cat, which had some impressive pedigree. To do this, two Mi-8 and Mi-24 [helicopter] crews were assigned,” The Independent quoted Mr Kuzminov as saying.
“So, two helicopters transported this wonderful animal, so to speak, from Rostov to Yeysk [air base] – the Mi-8 was flying the cat in, while the Mi-24 was circling to provide cover. We burned a lot of fuel, and resources. Furthermore, the crew aren’t always allowed to rest,” he added.
Further, according to the former Russian pilot, six military personnel were on board for the mission despite Russia experiencing a lack of pilots.
Also Read | Caught On Camera: Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary Hit With Cream Pies By Climate Protesters
Mr Kuzminov, 28, surrendered to Ukraine with stolen fighter jet spare parts, The Independent reported. He said that he got in touch with representatives of the Ukrainian military intelligence about the possibility of changing sides and he was offered safety as well as financial reward.
Mr Kuzminov has reportedly been paid 398,000 pounds for defecting. He landed his Russian Mi-8 helicopter in Ukraine in August. “It’s a real disgrace what is happening here,” he said of the war. “Murder, tears, blood. People are simply killing each other. That’s all I can make of this and I don’t want to be a part of it. What is going on now is simply the genocide of the Ukrainian people. Both Ukrainian and Russian,” he added.
The 28-year-old is now urging his former Russian colleagues to follow his suit. “The truth is, there are no Nazis or fascists,” he said in the interview.