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Russian Security Service Foils Ukraine's Attempt to Hijack Russian Tu-22M3 Strike Bomber

© Sputnik / Viktor Tolochko / Go to the mediabankRussian Tu-22 bomber
Russian Tu-22 bomber - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.07.2024
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Monday that it had prevented an attempt by the Ukrainian special services to hijack a Russian Tu-22M3 strike bomber with the help of NATO allies.
"The Russian FSB has prevented another attempt of the Ukrainian special services to hijack a long-range strategic bomber Tu-22M3 of the Russian aerospace forces and fly it abroad. The involvement of special services of NATO member states in the preparation and implementation of the operation has been uncovered," the agency said in a statement.
Tupolev's Tu-22М3 long-range supersonic missile carrier bomber (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is designed to destroy sea- and ground-based targets by means of guided missiles and aerial bombs.
Ukrainian intelligence tried to recruit a Russian military pilot, offering him a financial reward and the Italian citizenship for hijacking the plane and flying it to the destination, the FSB said.
"The Russian counterintelligence received information that helped the Russian armed forces to strike a Ukrainian military airfield in Ozerne," the statement read.
The Russian military pilot who was targeted by the Ukrainian operatives said in a video shared by the FSB that he had been offered $3 million for hijacking a nuclear-capable strategic bomber. The sum allegedly included a million provided by the Ukrainian state-owned defense group Ukroboronprom.
The airman said the Ukrainians contacted him via Telegram in an effort to extort information on Russian warplanes, including hull numbers, technical condition, and maintenance schedule. The pilot said they also threatened to hurt his family if he refused to set fire to Russian aviation equipment.
The pilot said that the Ukrainian intelligence had Polish travel papers prepared for his relatives, including a Polish ID for his wife, as well as a Polish bank account. After the hijack, the family were to fly to Turkiye, from where they would have been escorted to Ukraine through Moldova.
"There was a reason why they chose Moldova. The Ukrainian special services feel free there, they carry out their intelligence assignments there with no regard for the local law enforcement agencies," an FSB operative told Rossiya 1 news channel.

The FSB said in 2022 that Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence was being assisted by intelligence agencies of NATO member states in the planning of an operation to hijack a Russian warplane.

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